Summary of Sea of Poppies

Summary of Sea of Poppies

Author: Amitav Ghosh

Type: literary novel

Charcters: Deeti, Kalua, Hukam Singh, Zachary Reid ,Neel Rattan Halder,

Subject: The novel is set in the early 19th century during the peak of the Opium Wars and the colonial era.The story follows a diverse cast of characters whose lives become intertwined on board the Ibis, a former slave ship, as they embark on a transformative journey from India to Mauritius.The novel begins in the fertile fields of Bengal, where Deeti, a young woman, works as an opium farmer’s wife.Deeti has vivid dreams that she interprets as glimpses of the future.She sees the ship Ibis in her dream and believes it will play a significant role in her destiny.


The novel is divided into 3 parts. It begins in the city of Ghazipur, India, Deeti, a young woman who is about to be widowed, is introduced.She is forced to burn herself alive on her husband’s funeral pyre, but she is rescued by a local businessman named Kalua. Kalua takes her to his opium factory, where she meets other main characters, namely Zachary Reid, an American sailor, and Neel Rattan Halder, a wealthy landowner.

As the story progresses, each of the character’s past and their motivations for being involved in the opium trade are gradually revealed.Zachary, for instance, was transporting a group of indentured servants to Mauritius when his ship was seized by British authorities, and he is forced to work on a different ship involved in the opium trade.Neel, on the other hand, is desperate to save his estate from bankruptcy, and he sees the opium trade as a way to make money.

Eventually, all of the characters end up on the Ibis, a ship bound for China with a cargo of opium.Along the way, they encounter a variety of challenges, both natural and man-made, including storms, disease, and mutiny. But through it all, they form unexpected bonds with each other and begin to question the morality of their actions.


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