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Comment on what view of Indian culture is portrayed in 'A Stench of Kerosene' giving your own personal response.

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Introduction

Comment on what view of Indian culture is portrayed in 'A Stench of Kerosene' giving your own personal response. ' A Stench of Kerosene' , authored by the pen of Amrita Pritam, is a tale of suffering and injustice in the rural areas of India. The author tries to relate the life of a young Indian wife to the reader in such a way that it leaves them feeling pity and remorse for her. Within it there are elements of superstition, superiority, sexism and ancient traditions. Evidently the portrayal of Indian culture is not one that may be easily accepted by most western societies as it reveals the actuality of Hindu culture in its extreme. It illustrates how harsh it can be, especially towards the gentler sex. The story opens with Guleri heeding to the call of a horse; ' The mare was from her parents' village. She put her neck against its neck as if it were the door to her parents' house.' In this line the mare metaphorically represents her parents and her love for them, therefore as soon as she hears it coming she ' ran out of the house'. This also illustrates how deeply she misses her mother and father and how she is anxious to be close to anything that may link her to them, even if it is just a horse. ...read more.

Middle

Said his mother severely. Be a man.' ' Manak wanted to retort ' you are a woman; why don't you cry like one for a change! But he remained silent.' This shows the extent of the supremacy of elders as even though Manak may have an extreme rush of emotions he still holds back when it comes to his mother. Love, the greatest emotion of all, itself did not stand a chance when it came to a mothers decision. The way that Manaks mother could not understand the relationship that Manak and Guleri had and how she destroyed not only love but also life in the pursuit of a grandchild gives you an idea about the single-mindedness of Indian people. The upbringing of Manaks mother in an Indian society led to her becoming what she is at present and that is one of the features that Amrita Pritam is trying to get across about Indian culture - The power of matriarchy within the home. This is further emphasized by the father only being referred to in the phrase ' parents-in-law'. Apart from that he remains a ghost; invisible in a household where the wife and mothers authority is supreme. Another negative aspect displayed by the author to indicate the archaic nature of Indian culture is their belief in superstition. ' Do you know the Bluebell woods a couple of miles from here? ...read more.

Conclusion

This treatment is frowned upon in the modern world and is mentioned intelligently by Amrita Pritam to promote the movement of Indian right for women. The mere fact that the only purpose women have in an Indian marriage is to produce babies is enough to cause an uproar and is a sad indictment on Hindu culture and customs. The other fact of marriages in India is that women are bought from their parents which is a clear statement of them being a ' commodity': 'Manaks mother had paid 500 rupees to get him a second wife'. All these aspects bring out the most prominent point of this story: to expose the mistreatment of women in India. 'A Stench of Kerosene' contains multifarious techniques that allow the author to engage many different points of view and effects. She writes about her cultural heritage and its role in everyday life: the supremacy of elders over ruling everything else, the discrimination of women to such an extent that they are burnt alive, and superstition that is dominant over all forms of logic and thinking. My personal belief is that even though these people have traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, they are all outdated and in some instances barbaric. Indians have a very deep rooted history and therefore may find it hard to adapt to the modern world, but as Amrita Pritam quite clearly illustrates; it is time to proceed with life and forget the past, particularly with regard to the oppressive treatment towards women. GCSE English Coursework Noor Elahi 1 ...read more.

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