Paris - The Lastling
An offspring of a rare breed, Paris, is the youngest in the expeditionary outcasts that venture the lonely Indian Himalayan lands, solely on the paws of 'amusement'. It is Paris who, despite of being the least expected of, delivered the most for the arrival and hasty departure of the Yeti pivoted on her actions. This importance deserves her a discorded note with her clashing contrast, the 'other' protagonist, Tahr. Along this journey, Paris stands at the crossroads of self-discovery; the crossroads of right and wrong; and at the crossroads of destiny.
Paris is a girl of a rather boyish appearance. What with the tall stature of a man’s, shorts and a tank top as her usual wear, talking with a surety while looking straight in the eye and lacking the general shyness and elegance of a lady, Paris is a hopeless tomboy.
To label Paris as brave would not be short of making an understatement. While the stereotypical image of adolescent girls portrays them to shriek (an earsplitting shriek) at the sight of some measly cockroaches or this spider and that, Paris on the other hand, has the gut of a man and the will of one too. For one, the fact that she did not agree, no, but insisted upon being ‘one of (Franklin’s) boys’ and traveling to the hazardous Himalayas, is evidence enough on its own of Paris’ courage without adding the several daring stunts she pulled from saving Tahr and taking full responsibility of him- who at the time was completely unidentified and could have been a spy for all she knew- to planning a prison-break of the Yeti. And of course, not to mention her passing in the gross test of swallowing the langur meat at the Ultimate Diner’s Club. In fact, all the aforementioned evidence attest too for her being determined. She is unwavering when it comes to impressing her uncle. She is instilled with the belief, somehow, that the approval of Franklin is the highest degree of approval one can achieve and once gained, stamps you of being one of the rarest elite. Her obsequiousness drives her determination to the farthest of extents.
Paris, as one of the side-effects of being, by nature, a girl and by fortune, a goddess, is clasped in the coils of herself. Her air of haughtiness is not lost on Tahr who is sometimes awfully confused during their conversation which shifts rather too quickly to …well, Paris.
Despite being of a tender age of only 14 years, Paris strives to act as strong and as independent as a grown adult. She loathes being called a child and treated like one. Gavin, who tries to provoke a childish reaction from her both at the dinner table (by making her picture the delectable and ever so fresh monkey brains while eating langur meat) and at the hunting scene where she cannot seem to handle a gun, never succeeds-or rather, Paris does not let him succeed. It seems, by her unwillingness to be viewed as a child and by her willingness to imitate Uncle Franklin, that Paris is rather dissatisfied with who she really is. Moreover, she always has such an over confident facade and such surety in her speech, when actually, she is sometimes just a tad under confident of herself. ‘Well, maybe I am (just an ordinary Californian adolescent). Maybe you made a mistake (in bringing me along)’ is what she said to Franklin.
This feisty young girl is who Tahr owes his life to for she is the one who, not only saved him but freed him too. When, in the early stages of the novel, Tahr stumbled into the campsite of the expedition team, Paris showed how truly kind (and clever) she can be by using her persuasive skills to do the good deed no on else was willing to do and keep Tahr from being the victim of Shikkari’s ruthless kukri. Later in the novel, when she agreed to put herself at risk by helping the Yeti and Tahr to escape, she redeemed herself of being a large contributing factor to the capture of the Yeti. Her guilt over the previously mentioned mistake and her guilt over eradicating the last of the dodo birds were signs of her progressive conscience and her value for life.
Paris was, time and time again, the much needed energy of the novel without which the force of Tahr’s character could not be opposed with an equally strong one. She is the current surging through the tranquility that Tahr’s character brings and current that electrifies the otherwise mundane novel.