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

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GCSE English Coursework                                                                                Noor Elahi

   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. ‘ she would come back her heart glowing with pride’ indicates how she feels towards her roots and home village. Guleri’s poignancy about her distance from her home also expresses her right as a wife and daughter. The mere fact that she is only allowed a vacation at her blood relations house once a year says something about the harshness of Indian culture.

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The annual harvest festival, a local traditional event, is described by Amrita Pritam in such words that bring out the true colours of Indian festivity, ‘ their dupatas would be dyed, starched and sprinkled with mica to make them glisten. They would buy glass bangles and silver ear-rings.’ These descriptions to some western civilisations may seem extremely bizarre, but to these Indian people they are magical events that bring out the real spirit of their culture. The happiness Guleri feels in anticipation of the event is in marked contrast to her normal life and to the extreme sorrow she ...

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