“Raj, Not Unlike the Rest”

“Raj, Not Unlike the Rest” A Position Paper                                                                         October 3, 2009

Katie Sweeney

The relationship between an individual and one’s morals is a complex bond, not unlike that of a dumb jock befriending a math nerd as exam time fast approaches. People tend to choose to think about morals only when it is convenient. In Hari Kunzru’s short story, “Raj, Bohemian,” the question of morality arises when the main character feels as if the way Raj has treated him was “unethical.” The narrator feels as if he has been taken advantage of and had been treated inappropriately. What the narrator conveniently forgets, however, is that he too partakes in immoral deeds.

What is interesting about the short story, and is very true to human nature, is that each individual has a slightly different set of morals. Anyone can choose when to cling to their ideals and when to sweep them under the rug. For the narrator, morals are significant to him when everyone in his peer group believes in something he does not. He allows Raj, a successful advertiser, to diminish his self esteem and force him into being a temporary “hermit.” One could suggest that he does this all to himself, but either way his morals wont allow him to give in to the higher power that is “pitching.” However, as the narrator continues to point fingers at those he perceives as “trendies” and “zombies,” he neglects to recognize his own wrong doings.

How fitting that the narrator should ignore what most see as immoral while he criticizes those who chose to give in to a common idea. The narrator has no issue popping back pills he does not need and going to Raj’s office with the intention to “make him into nothing.”  The majority of society doesn’t see these two things as appropriate, yet the narrator has no problem with what he does. Another thing that society frowns upon is infidelity. Not only is the person being disloyal at fault, but those who allow for it to happen, commonly known as “the other woman.” The narrator has put himself in a position where he can single handedly destroy a relationship and the happiness of two people. He carries out a sort of affair with Tanh who has a “complex but live-in relationship.” This, to most, is immoral.

It is a human trait to coexist with morals when it is favorable; we use them when we need them, like we use the math geek when our grades are plummeting. When people think they have been “made into nothing,” like the narrator in “Raj, Bohemian,” they think that those who make them feel in such a way are immoral, lacking taste. However, when it comes down to it, each person commits their own immoral acts and often go on choosing not to acknowledge them.

Word count: 496


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