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Comment on how Amrita Pritam conveys Indian culture in 'A Stench of Kerosene(TM) giving your own personal response

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Comment on What Views of Indian culture is Portrayed in 'A Stench of Kerosene' Giving Your Own Personal Opinion A Stench of Kerosene, written by Amrita Pritam, is a short story recalling an event in which an Indian woman, named Guleri, had been lured into the cultures and traditions practised by her people. The story opens up to give the reader an insight into the homesickness that of which Guleri suffers. The passage shows how cruel her husband Manak was in not letting her go home to see her parents often, as she had duties at home. To show how desperate she would become, the writer mentions that 'whenever Guleri was homesick she would take her husband' (line 8) and go up to a high point from where she could see her family's village. Just by doing this, it would extinguish all the feelings of being home sick. Just from the first paragraph, one can tell that this has something to do with the culture of certain people, maybe from somewhere in eastern Asia. Although the story has been written in 1965, there are no references to the 20th Century, as the author wants to emphasize that the culture is medieval. The third paragraph begins with a description of how Guleri desperately would count the days to the harvest, which would be held on an annual basis. ...read more.


The mentioning of chores in this paragraph begins to make clear to the reader what sort of culture and traditions the girl and their families indulge in, whereby the wife is seen merely as a servant in the eyes of her husband. In lines 30- 32, the husband is described to have closed his eyes as Guleri came in front of him, as though he could not bear to see his wife! By Guleri not questioning his actions, it seems as though this was a normal thing for the husband to do, for, if she had asked why, it would have been clear that what the husband done was not normal. The reference to the word 'chillum' makes the reader think along the lines of the Asian sub-continent. The writer further hints towards Indian culture, as the 'flute' (line 49) is also mentioned. The writer portrays a very negative image of Indian culture as a whole and seems very critical of its customs. Critical of the fact that women are treated with such hatred and are not treated as an equal to the husband, due to the dominance of culture over the common views held by the people particularly regarding women. The writer, being feminist, exaggerates the plot and timescale of the story as well as making Guleri a symbol of the treatment of women. ...read more.


The maitriarcle society plays a huge role in the adoption of this sati culture as it is the mother of the man who decides who he marries and who he divorces, as Manak's mother had already decided the right timing to bring his new wife home, behind his other wife's back. To show how little Manak's mother felt towards the death of Guleri, the writer mentions how it was nine months after her painful death that Manak's mother became so cheerful and excited about the new baby boy that she forgot about Guleri and what she had done to her. It was the mother's dominance in the house; backed by their adoption of their culture that allowed her to fulfil her yearns of having a grandchild in which Manak's barren wife stood in the way of. To prove this, the writer mentions at the end of the story that when his new wife gave birth she was 'pleased with her new daughter-in-law' (lines 47-48). No consideration had been taken of what was best for her son and his wife because the wife according to the traditions is no more and no less than a servant. It seems to me that the culture lacks emphasis of the rights of women over their husbands, as all that is encouraged is the submission to the rights of men over their wives, which I think is completely wrong. BY ABBAS DHAMI ...read more.

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