• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Nectar in a sieve

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Chapter 16 Excerpt Commentary The title Nectar in a Sieve is taken from the final lines of a famous poem "Work without Hope" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834). This poem mainly focuses about humankind's relationship with the natural world, which I believe is one of the main themes in this novel. This novel unravels the bonds between family traditions in a growing India, conflicts between a traditional agricultural and industrial society, importance of traditional cultural practices, people's reluctance to change, and the impact of economic change. "The rice would have to be lifted plant by plant, and the grain separated from the husk, and the husk beaten for the last few grains... it meant working long hours in the flooded fields with bent back, and much labouring thereafter converting the paddy into rice" (Kamala Markandaya, Nectar in a Sieve, London: The John Day Company, 1954, p.97) Kamala Markandaya portrays the Indian society as people who only seek to find happiness and strength by imagination, not by working hard to achieve their dreams. They are happy with what they have; not aiming to reach ahead and working toward higher achievement. Rice is not only symbolized as life but also power. Without rice they are not able to make a living or provide food for their family. When Rukmani and Nathan are faced with a bad season for harvesting, they turn to prayers, hope and belief. ...read more.

Middle

Markandaya frequently implies suffering is a fact of life in this novel. Rukmani and Nathan not only suffer financially, but also suffer emotionally. As the chapter progresses we see that Rukmani ultimately accepts suffering, while Ira dedicates her life trying to improve it. This provides a clear description that the Indian people who devote themselves to the traditional Indian culture welcome suffering as it comes which is a contrast to the generations exposed to modernity, as they are determined to improve their standards of living. "Ira gave me a sidelong glance: "your imagination would not travel that far." "You do not know me," I said, troubled. "And I no longer understand you." "The truth is unpalatable," she replied." (p.102) I believe the power of the imagination is greater than the power of truth [Copyright Veena Pradeep Kumar]. The lower caste societies are driven to imagine for a better future and higher wealth. Since the "truth is unpalatable" for them to face, Markandaya implies that it is not possible for the Indian society to think to far ahead, because there is nothing being done to improve the economic conditions in Indian after Independence. Rukmani is kept not knowing the truth and so her imagination is allowed to run wild, ultimately leading her to darker things that might even be true. ...read more.

Conclusion

The protagonist describes Ira as a "Grown woman with a definite purpose and an invincible determination." This proves that the changing society did have aim and determination to rise above all, and achieve what seemed impossible to them. "Our last child, conceived in happiness at a time when the river of our lives ran gently, had been taken from us; I knew too well what he felt. Yet, although I grieved, it was not for my son: for in my heart I could not have wished it otherwise." (p.105) Throughout the novel water is portrayed as a symbol for life. Rukmani and Nathan named their first child Irawaddy, "after one of the great rivers of Asia, as of all things water was most precious to us." (p.20). Even though throughout the novel the main focus remain on harvesting rice, it is obvious that grain and seed are nothing without water. The rain patters also predict the good and bad times that Nathan and Rukmani undergo. Due to the effect of the drought, the family faces starvation, hence, Kuti dies. This could have been avoided if it had rained earlier. The struggle of individuals caught between tradition and modernity, or between India and the west, is a very common theme in Indian literature written after independence. This struggle is clear in Nectar in a Sieve, as Rukmani often finds herself battling between her traditional views and opinions, and the various modern events that seem to be taking over her life. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel Chapter Analysis

    On the other hand, Tita and Chencha are under the ground showing that they are in the control of this powerful leader, Mama Elena. The setting, which the story then swiftly moves onto, is the dovecote where the rebels trapped innocent doves by "closing the door and the windows so none of them could get away ".

  2. Loss of Hope

    However we see her true character at the end of Act three when Adela commits suicide. When Bernarda finds Adela hanging from the ceiling, she feels no remorse. She is more concerned about what the neighbours will think as she tries to uphold her stature in society.

  1. Doubles and pairs in A Streetcar Named Desire

    New Orleans, with it's hope and liveliness represents the 'white' side of life, the forgiving side, which gives people another chance to re-establish themselves; like Blanche. So, the writer juxtaposes the two settings, the offstage setting of Belle Reve, and the onstage setting of New Orleans.

  2. Nectar in a sieve

    As Rukmani rushes towards Kenny after she has waited all day for him, he calls her a fool. This opinion made by Kenny, who is the source of modern knowledge, is an attitude toward the slow, stubborn, and blind Indian culture.

  1. Comparison of Allie and Nathan Price from The Mosquito Coast and The Poisonwood Bible ...

    Both Nathan and Allie share the same obsession of getting to their goals, so much so, in fact, that they forget about their families' welfare and safety almost completely. Even when there is a sudden turn of events, they seem undeterred by what they call their 'destiny'.

  2. Historical Vietnam Events

    Khi nghe cha n�i th� c� tuy kh�ng d�m thua goi g� h�t nhung trong da r�t l�y l�m bu�n. C� t�nh xong trung hoc de nh�t c�p c� se xin ba m� c� cho l�n S�igon hoc ti�p, d� te lam cung phai thi cho xong c�i t� t�i ph�n nhut nhu c�c anh lon cua c� chu.

  1. Christmas - origins, traditions and ideas for making gifts.

    When it was time for the daughters to marry, the old man was very sad because he couldn't afford their dowry. Saint Nicholas heard of the old mans depression and wanted to help. One night after the girls had done their laundry and hung it next to the fireplace to

  2. Waiting for Godot - Samuel Beckett

    This is usually done using black humor, which allows the audience to both laugh and be serious at the same time. Both black humor and comedy can be seen within the play. Black humor and comedy is humor generated through topics that are considered to be taboo or laughter that is created from someone else's pain and suffering.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work