What do I need to know about ... Jasmine?

Brief Description

Susila and all her possessions have a very strong scent of jasmine. Krishna has developed an extreme obsession with not only the woman (Susila) but the scent she carries (Jasmine). Throughout the novel, the scent of Jasmine is a key motif as it portrays a fresh burst of life into Krishna monotonous predictable routine.

Key Quotations

Page 16: 'A mild Jasmine smell surrounded her'

Page 16: Krishna plants the Jasmine bush ‘to remind us there are better things in the world’

Krishna’s infatuation for Susila is shown on page 48 when Krishna nicknames Susila, Jasmine.'I will call you Jasmine hereafter.' This portrays that Susila in Krishna’s eyes, represents that beautiful fragrant flower.

Page 55: 'I would love to call this the Jasmine Home; its perfume greets us even as we enter.' This quote exhibits that Krishna relates everything to Jasmine, to the extreme of a home and this portrays his obsession and excessive infatuation with Susila.

Page 178: ‘Their essences came forth into the dark night as I lay in bed, bringing a new vigour with them.’ Krishna says that the jasmine garland given to him by the college has brought with it a new life. This is a representation of Susila’s spirit and her perpetual presence in Krishna’s life. The jasmine scent that fills Krishna’s bedroom as if Susila has never left.

- At the end of the book, the reader recieves hints that Susila will finally appear to Khrisna. First when he recieves the Jasmin Garland. Then when he carries it home, despite how difficult/offputting it was to carry it. He subconciously thinks of it as his link to Susila and is still loyal to all things associated to/with her.
By the time Khrisna gets home the light scent becomes heavy/strong - an oxymoron which shows her growing prescence until he finally sees her.


Its role in the novel


The Jasmine motif symbolises the love that is missing from Krishna’s predictable life, and Susila represents that love. Jasmine is a fragrant flower which is peaceful and serene yet its scent is distinct, one-of-a-kind, just like Susila. Jasmine is a soft, feminine, floral symbol but at the same time it has a strong scent, which depicts the "burst of life" missing from the monotony of Krishna's life.