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Nectar In A Sieve Literary Essay

1157 words - 5 pages

The power of the human spirit consists of a powerful concept that deals with resilience and the ability to continue moving on regardless of the odds that one encounters. Nectar in a Sieve, a novel by Kamala Markandaya, takes place in an unknown town in rural India. The story follows the life of Rukmani who is the narrator and main protagonist of the story. Nectar in a Sieve was published in 1954, a couple years after India gained independence from Britain. Nectar in a Sieve very well portrays the power of the human spirit through the obstacles the tannery instigates for Rukmani, the painstakingly difficult tasks she must surmount that arise from nature such as the drought, and the internal conflicts that result from these external issues.
Nectar in a Sieve closely encompasses the theme, the power of the human spirit, because of the obstacles that Rukmani must overcome in order for her to live a satisfying life with her family. Rukmani truly cares about her family and always puts her family above all. Throughout the novel, the world around Rukmani is constantly changing. From the advancement of the village to the several natural changes that occur. Once the tannery becomes introduced to the close knit community in which Rukmani lives in, it changes the economy of the village. It alters the economy because it presents the village with more competition in employment and in business. As well as changing the economy, the tannery also brings change to the environment. An influx of new workers flood the village along with their families. This produces a tremendous amount of pollution. Not only did the tannery alter the economy and the way of living in the village, but it also changes Rukmani’s family. Nathan originally planned for his children to assist him in caring for the land, but the tannery soon claims three of their sons. Thambi, Arjun, and Raja choose to work at the tannery in order to deal with the poverty that they are experiencing. “And because it grew and flourished it got the power that money brings, so that to attempt to withstand it was like trying to stop the onward rush of the great juggernaut,” (136) Rukmani, being married to a poor tenant farmer, demonstrates resilience in the novel through her actions and her hope of attaining a better life regardless of the difficulties that she comes across.
Further more, not only does Rukmani have to deal with the tannery, but she also has to endure the many changes of nature.“Nature is like a wild animal that you have trained to work for you,” (43). Rukmani associates nature with a wild animal and equates training between the two because nature is unforeseeable and has the final say on the quality of the land and the yield of the crops. In Nectar in a Sieve, Rukmani confronts the many faces of nature. “That year the monsoon broke early with an evil intensity such as none could remember before,” (43). The rain was beginning to create a flood and the paddy field in which Nathan planted crops was...

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