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Discuss the significance of the traditions, beliefs and Culture in ‘Stench of Kerosene.’ How do they affect the Character’s actions and make them unhappy?

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Paul Shuttleworth 10T1 Discuss the significance of the traditions, beliefs and Culture in 'Stench of Kerosene.' How do they affect the Character's actions and make them unhappy? In the story, "Stench of Kerosene" by Amrita Pritam, religion (Hindu) and Indian culture affects the characters actions, and also makes them unhappy. In the following essay, I will discuss this theme. One of the main characters in the story is Guleri, a young Indian women. She is Manak's wife, she lived with her husband and mother-in-law as this is an Indian tradition. The wife not only marries her groom, but also into the groom's family, so this is why Guleri lives at Manak's home. This is the first time in the story where we see a tradition making a character unhappy, as she rarely sees her parents who live in the nearby town, "once every year, after harvest had been gathered in, Guleri was allowed to spend a few days with her parents" from this we can tell she can only go home at specific times. Every year it is tradition that a fair takes place in the larger towns of India. All kinds of activities take place, such as singing, dancing and music. Guleri went to this fair every year to see her parents. ...read more.


They begin to argue, and both characters become upset. As they are about to part Manak says "Guleri don't, go away' he pleaded her." Therefore, this is the first tradition (the annual fair) which makes Manak unhappy, as he fears he will never see her again. He was particularly upset because he really did love his wife. When Manak returns home from walking towards Chamba, his mother questions him " Did you go all the way to Chamba?" he replied in a heavy voice and his mother told him not to croak like an old woman. We know from this that relations between Manak and his mother are somewhat strained. We can tell this from this quote as well, "Manak wanted to retort, 'You are a women; why don't you cry like one for a change!'" but instead he remained silent, as he feels that his mother is unable to empathize with him. His mother wanted a grandchild to carry on the family name, but still after seven years, Guleri had not produced one, so Manaks Mother had arranged a second marriage for Manak for this reason. Manak could not refuse his mothers wishes, as she is the highest figure of the family, this is another tradition making Manak unhappy, as he may not have married if his father had arranged it. ...read more.


Therefore, Manak thought Guleri's soul had entered his newborn son, and that is why he thought his child smelt of Kerosene, this is another belief upsetting a character. Manaks mother is also an important character in the story, although she is not affected as much as her son and Guleri, she is also unhappy due to traditions and beliefs. Although, more importantly she is the cause of much unhappiness. Manak's mother had made a secret resolve that if Manak and Guleri had not produced a child after seven years of marriage, she would find a second wife that could produce the grandchild she wanted. This was because children were needed to carry on the family name, so this is the first tradition Manak's mother inflicts on her son making him unhappy. She also knew her son would obey her, as he knew marriage was a social contract. Manak's mother in a way is responsible for Guleri's death, as she would not have killed herself if Manak had not married again. In conclusion, Stench of Kerosene contains many traditions and beliefs that affect the character's happiness and actions. I believe Manak's mother is to blame for much of the unhappiness caused. However, Manak is an adult, and should have made his own decision about re-marrying, especially as he loved Guleri, regardless of any traditions stating whether or not he should marry just for a child. ...read more.

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