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Slumdog Millionaire Reading Journal

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Gymnasium Wellingdorf Kiel

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Text by Yves K. ©
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Reading Journal - Slumdog Millionaire Prologue Mini-Summary: In this chapter, Ram Mohammed Thomas is a prisoner because he has won a quiz show. The police think he was cheating in the quiz show. They torture him to get to the truth. But Ram still says that he has not cheated. Finally Smita, a lawyer brings him out of prison. She brings him into her house and she wants that Ram tells her whether he cheated and if not, how he knew the answers. Questions: Will Ram get the price of the quiz show? Who is Smita? Why will she help him? Does Ram cheat? new…
SUMMARY OF SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE The film opens in a police station, where Jamal is tortured. At this time he has already answered the penultimate quiz question correctly and is suspected of being an impostor. The police commissioner doubted that a former street kid from Mumbai could answer as many questions correctly. In the form of flashbacks to Jamals memories of his past life are shown. The acquisition of knowledge and the day before, when he had all the questions of quiz show to the last million dollar question answered correctly For…

Slumdog Millionaire – Reading Journal


Table of contents

Prologue - - Reaction 2

1,000 The Death of a Hero : Mindmap Salim - What interested me most in this chapter 3/4

2,000 The Burden of a Priest : Letter from Ram to his mother 5/6

5,000 A Brother's Promise - : Whose acting I agree with 7

10,000 A Thought for the Crippled : Shocking quotes 8/9

50,000 How to Speak Australian : Ram’s diary entry Favorite quotes of this chapter 10

100,000 Hold On Your Buttons : What I learned that interest me Whom I disliked 11

200,000 Murder on the Western Express - Wanted!-poster for Ram - Style of writing 12

500,000 A Soldier’s Tale : What I disagree with - What I wish had happened 13

1,000,000 Licence to Kill : Events that are not explained in the text itself 14

10,000,000 Tragedy Queen : What I agree with 15

100,000,000 X Gkrz Opknu (or, a Love Story) - My opinion to some quotes 16

1,000,000,000 The Thirteenth Question + Epilogue - Reaction 17

Vocabulary section: Words I want to remember 18

Reflections 19


Prologue:

Summary:

Ram Mohammed Thomas gets arrested for winning a quiz show. He is tortured there, the makers of the quiz show think that he cheated and he shall tell them how he could win, because they couldn’t find any hints for cheating in video of the show.                                                                                                              

Then Smita Shah appears - the lawyer of whom Ram didn’t know anything. She takes him to her home and asks him about the quiz show and how getting all the questions right answered. After flipping a coin he starts trusting her and decide to tell her his memories to the questions and how he could answer. 


Reactions:

It’s a very suspense start of the book, I liked the way the author writes and I want to know how it’s going on this Ram!


8|3|2011

1,000 The Death of a Hero (p.31 to p.47)

Summary:

Ram and his best friend Salim go to cinema for watching a typical Bollywood movie with the actor Armaan Ali. Salim is an avid fan of this actor and is consequently denying all the rumours that he’s gay and that this could be the reason why the relationship between him and his girlfriend ends.                                                                            After the break and both going to the toilet, an old looking bearded man sits next to Salim.

He touches him several times but Salim reacts not until he tries to touch his crutch and slaps the man’s face because of such a gay and pervert action hard. He runs after him and pulls off his fake beard   and realises that it is his idol Armaan Ali. In this way the actor doesn’t only die on the screen, for Salim he really dies and his attitude towards him completely changed.

Reactions:


What interested me most in this chapter

I learned more about Bollywood movies which were discussed a lot in this chapter and I also got new information about the cinema in India. Before reading Slumdog Millionaire I thought there are more big differences between our German cinema und the Indian one, but while reading Ram’s story I recognized, that even if he and Salim were watching an action movie in India, the cinema and the style the movie was built up is nearly the same like ours.

The only differences I notice are that it seems the cinema had to be older than our German, because “the screen flickers” and “the reels had to be changed” so the result is a little pause.

In India is the same irritating advertisement at the beginning of a movie like here. But Swarup explains the adverts in such a funny way that I also had to smile. He brings the manipulation of the media and the false dreams which they try to plant in our minds home to us like it’s unfortunately the truth. So I could just agree with the author’s opinion in this point and I liked his way of expressing also delicate facts without any distorting the truth.

 


9|3|2011

2,000 The Burden of a Priest


Summary:

This chapter is about the first years of Ram’s life and how he is abandoned from his mother at an orphanage shortly after birth. Because of his dark skin Ram’s chance to be adopted isn’t high but as someone was found who wants Ram, he gives him after many troubles to Father Timothy in a church. There he grows up in good care for the next eight years and also becomes his name Ram Mohammad Thomas due to the main religions in India.

One Sunday the young Associate Priest Father John Little arrives. Ram fast finds out, even not knowing the meaning, that he’s gay and also doing other forbidden things. Later the young man Ian arrives from York and becomes a friend of Ram. But Ram founds Father John with Ian in a dirty pose and alarms Father Timothy who tells them .....[read full text]

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Even Gudiya’s own mother doesn’t do anything to protect her daughter from her father’s attacks, although she is able to   she could has called the police or the neighbours for help and get divorced. But not only she is at fault, also Ramakrishna the Administrator of the chawl was informed about what’s happening in the Shantaram’s room so he could has done something as well.

The least he could has done, is going with Ram and checking if everything is in order with Gudiya or if she needs to go to hospital.

Ram does everything for helping Gudiya in time of her need and keeps his brother’s promise. The relationship of sister and brother is a new experience for both of the children and Ram can’t suffer seeing his “sister” in such hopelessness. He calls the taxi for bringing her to hospital, he visits her when she was alone and he holds her hand at the time when Gudiya needs him, but the only way for Ram to release her of her difficulties was the one he chooses at the end   killing her father.

The passage where Gudiya tells Ram beyond all hope that she will commit suicide really made me feel sad and I didn’t see any way how Ram could help her against her father. So the end of the chapter first shocked me a bit, but after thinking over I came to the conclusion that if Ram hadn’t act on this way maybe by the next time the father was drunk he could has killed his wife or his daughter simply without noticing anything.

Although this is no argument for murdering somebody, I could really understand how Ram had felt in this moment.

His way of taking action leastwise shows his courage and how much he feels for his “sister” so I think the relationship between the children is very interesting and the author catches his reader’s attention with the open end and the question if Ram and Gudiya will meet again someday. 

                                                               13|3|2011

10,000 A Thought for the Crippled

Summary

After the death of father Timothy Ram is took to the Delhi Juvenile Home for Boys where he meets a lot boys in the same situation like him and the friendship between Ram and Salim starts. The conditions in the Juvenile Home are bad and Ram discovers the truth about the sexual abuses there fast.

Later he and his new found friend Salim are chosen by Sethji who’s known as the “big man”. After hearing the stories of the handicapped children who are living with Sethji, Ram knows his real plan of making money with crippled beggar-children and decides to flee with Salim. They find shelter by Neelima Kumari who was a film star in her youth.    


Reactions: shocking quotes


§  “There are dark rumours that he calls over boys to his room late at night, but nobody will discuss it.”  - Ram about Mr Gupta, p.92

§  “They discover his dirty secret that night (though they do nothing about it).”   Ram, p.97


The time I read those lines, I felt sad and angry at the same time   how many abuses were connived there without any consequences? Those children are traumatized for their whole life and I really asked myself how such perverts could sleep calm without any conscience. And I asked myself where the police are when we need them. It was really scary to read in what normality the author was writing about sexual abuses the second time and it shows how normal this topic had to be in India - what a tragic result of the low morale.


§  “He heard his mother’s shrieks, his father’s cries, his brother’s wails, but the mob would not allow anyone to escape. His whole family was burnt to death in the inferno.” - Ram about Salim, p. 95


This part is very realistic described and it’s sad to hear about the brutality of such a mob attack. And how terrible the feeling should had been for Salim seeing the Hindus armed with machetes, pickaxes, sticks and torches attacking his own family   and how heartless those guys must have been. Setting a fire to the houses and burning the inhabitants painfully to death, while children like Salim who was just 7 years old are watching, is .....

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Summary:


This chapter tells us all about Ram's days as a servant i n the Taylors home.  For Ram the father of the family is “The Man How Knows” because he knows everything happening in his house and is dismissing everyone trying to betray him, just the relationship to Ram is always a good one   the Taylors trust him.  While living with the Taylors he also has a close relationship to the two children Maggie and Roy and could even learn imitating the Australian dialect.

Later Ram finds out Mr Taylor secret of having bugged the whole house and being wrapped up in some prickly affairs.  So he gives the police a tip in his Australian and could stay unrecognized. At last Ram takes his earned money and set out for Mumbai.


Reactions: Ram’s diary entry


Today is the best day of my life. It’s a week after my birthday. The Taylors went celebrating Christmas with their family in Sydney for a week and today they returned with so many presents for me! They told me that it’s the double of my normal present because of haven’t celebrating my birthday and also having a Christmas gift for me. And as I unpacked the gifts I found the most wonderful things I’ve ever seen   a crystal ball with a little Santa Claus and little snowflakes falling down by shaking it, brand-new football shoes with a yellow Nike symbol from Roy and a XXL-poster of Sydney from the bird’s eye view from Maggie.

I nearly began to cry by all this kindness .

But I’ just the same idiot orphan I always was. I know that this is not my family and that their life is not mine. I know that all this kindness will fly by time and that all their lovely gifts are just terminable because this is not the life I should live. I’m just an idiot orphan and I should stop dreaming of visiting the places from the Australian Geographic   I should dream from becoming cleaner or cook like the other orphans.  

But in moments like this, when the whole Taylor family is singing the birthday song for me I simply can’t accept the reality, I just want to be part of .....

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Reactions: What I learned that interest me


I learned many new things about voodoo, for example that you need the blood of a rooster. I think it was interesting how the ceremony of making a voodoo doll was described - now I know that you need for such a voodoo doll:   - a button from one of the unwashed shirts of the person I will hurt                                                                                    (you’ll find it in the laundry basket)

-      A little snippet of his hair (you get it for example by bringing the person to hairdresser cutting his hair)

-      Male or female doll made of cloth with all kinds of black lines

-      The blood of a rooster filled in a pan

-      A black pin

-      Many, many fantasy and superstition

But all in all my opinion of voodoo couldn’t be changed with what Swarup is telling us, for me voodoo is and will remain nothing else than a kind of superstition.


Whom I disliked


In this chapter I don’t like most of the characters, indeed Ram is acting kind of following just his own goals. Especially Julia, Prakash and the Manager Sahib seem very unsympathetic.

Julia is only searching for her own profit and married Prakash just because of her chance for living a better live with him and stealing the money of his brother. She used him for her plans of bringing her family to her and save them from a life in Haiti with her intention of giving Prakash respect, love and good sex.

So Julia is the reason why Prakash’s life turned upside-down, but he also was too naive and did whatever she told him to do. He doesn’t even stop stealing when his brother catches him and gives him a second chance - a result of the pressure and manipulation of Julia. But when he starts to use the voodoo doll, he enters a new level of unscrupulousness which is only his fault and so he has to live with the consequences of what he has done.

Also his plan of killing Julia in the end isn’t a solution for his problems and what happened in his life, so Prakash’s own de.....

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And that’s it what make a good author out, to convey the emotions of the characters to us as the readers.



                                                                                     20|3|2011

500,000 A Soldier’s Tale


Summary


In this chapter the situation of Ram and the other inhabitants of the chawl during the war between India and Pakistan is described. They are all in a bunker when the soldier Balwant Singh starts telling them stories about his past. He talks about the last real war he fought in and how sacrificing and unselfish he acts although being blessed with a son short before.

Fast he is known as the war hero who just didn’t get an award even being one of the best.

After complaining to a Colonel, he goes to see who this brave soldier is and discovers that he’s just a liar and a cheater who didn’t show any courage in the wars but flees by the first sign of movement from the other side. Lately Balwant is found committed suicide in his chawl. 


Reactions: What I disagree with


I was really surprised while reading this chapter how many hate the Indians show against the Pakistanis   they are talking from them like crazy subhuman and the most terrible people anyway.

The Pakistanis are shown as an awful power whose single target is to kill the Indians with their nuclear weapons. And the terrible on this situation is   the Indi.....

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While fleeing from Maman, Salim jumps in a bus where a mob was taken place. Ahmed Khan saves him with his gun and offers him a job as his servant which Salim takes. Ahmed spends his time with betting on cricket matches and watching “Mumbai Crime Watch” but with time Salim discovers what he’s really working as: a licence killer. So Salim changes the name and picture of one of Ahmeds victims from Abbaz Rizwi to Maman and disappears to the time he hears about Ahmed’s death.



Reactions: Events that are not explained in the text itself


Salim sits in front of me with his chicken curry and without taken any notice that my eyes are fixing him. He is daydreaming for the last five minutes and I begin worrying about him. ‘You’re in looove my friend!’ I whisper teasing. Salim awake with a start and stammers ‘What? No! No, I’m not ’. But his bashful smiling already betrayed him and he knows that.

In this unpleasant situation our laugh just break out at the same time and as we calmed ourselves Salim confesses ‘Yes maybe a bit, but stop laughing or did you forget Gudiya   “oh Gudiya I will never ever release your hand my darling”’ and we had to laugh again about Salim’s funny voice he made.

‘Well tell me, who is it? Priya or the new star of the latest Bollywood film? For sure I know you have your connections now’ I smiled.

‘None of them, but it’s the most beautiful girl you’ll ever see in your life. Hey stop grinning, she’s mine.’  Even he was joking I understood that he was marking his district and so I just nod and listen to his love-struck description.

‘I met her just the time you went away so suddenly and directly falled in love with her big black eyes, even not having the courage to talk to her. But the luck was on my side   I met her one evening waiting for the bus and being harassed by two really gay looking guys and see here I protected her, told her I’m loving her for such a long time and the most wonderful girl on .....

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