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Comparing and Contrasting- "A Stench of Kerosene"& "Looking for a Rain God" examine ways the writers create drama and tension and comment on the authors attitudes to the customs they describe.

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Introduction

Comparing and Contrasting- "A Stench of Kerosene"& "Looking for a Rain God" examine ways the writers create drama and tension and comment on the authors attitudes to the customs they describe. To what extent are the customs responsible for the deaths in the two stories? In this coursework essay I will compare and contrast the following short stories: "A Stench of Kerosene" by Amrita Pritam and "Looking for a Rain God" by Bessie Head. Analysing language I will also comment on the authors attitudes to the customs they describe and how each of the authors create tension and drama within their respective short stories. Drama and tension are created dramatically in both of the stories by the extreme nature and severity of the deaths. In "A stench of Kerosene" the first we hear of Guleri's suicide is when Bhavani returns home after his evening at the fair in Chamba. He says in a flat voice "Guleri is dead". This is a powerful short sentence and it makes the reader anxious to find out how Guleri dies because the death is left in a shroud of mystery. We are later told Manak's wife Guleri dramatically takes her life by soaking her clothes in kerosene; burning herself in the ignited flames neighbouring her body. Drama is created by the sheer extremity of her actions. ...read more.

Middle

Manak then responds by saying "My Mother..." The ellipsis signifies that Manak is trying to say something that will reveal why he doesn't want her to go to the fair. We later discover he doesn't want Guleri to know of his Mothers plans for a second marriage. Presumably as he doesn't want to ruin Guleri's visit to her old Village she enjoys so much. After this conversation Guleri asks other questions asking why Manak can't attend the fair but Manak remains solemn and does not answer. He is unable to admit to his Mothers plans which he feels obliged to stick to and is consequently saddened by. He may also be worried about Guleri's reaction. Secondly in "Looking for a Rain God" Tension is created by the circumstances and setting of the story. We are informed in the early part of the story that a drought has covered the land where are living. We are also informed that some men "hung themselves to death" because they could not endure the unbearable heat. This sentence along with others describing the extreme heat creates an ominous mood this in turn creates Tension. This is because the reader understands the events that have been occurring and are now braced for any extreme events to come. Therefore tension is created as we almost expect something tragic to happen before we become deeply involved in the story itself. ...read more.

Conclusion

I believe that although the reader quickly blames Manak's mother for the death of Guleri, there could be a whole range of possible alternative interpretations. Some readers may believe that if Guleri had not have reacted so drastically as she did and accepted that Manak was complying with his customs she may not have dramatically committed suicide. Other readers may argue that Guleri should have the right to have been told that Manak was to marry a second time while she visited the fair in Chamba. These readers may believe that it was maybe Manak's fault Guleri kills herself. Maybe Guleri feels ashamed and humiliated by her husband as he doesn't tell her a life changing event that is going to happen. Readers may state that the person who's life would be most affected by the second marriage would be Guleri. Therefore Manak should have faced his fears of his mother and left his cowardness in the past behind him? Finally although we assume that Bessie Head is most definitely against murder and sacrifice we understand in the last line of the story she can appreciate why it still occurs in our civilised world up and to this day. In her story she states the other villagers "could have killed something to make the rain fall". This makes the reader understand the dire situation the villagers were coping with and how Ramadi's family cracked under pressure first. The punishment the husband and granddad received saved other possible tragedies in the village. Henry Courtier 10T ...read more.

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