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Rohinton Mistry: A Comparison Of His Works. (Books Read: "A Fine Balance" And "Family Matters" Both By Rohinton Mistry.)

1335 words - 5 pages

"Few have caught the real sorrow and inexplicable strength of India, the unaccountable crookedness and sweetness, as well as Mistry." (Time) "A Fine Balance" and "Family Matters" are two of the many novels written by Rohinton Mistry. In both novels he captures the reality of life in India, both negative and positive. There are many parallels between these books including the setting, the types of characters, and the violent deaths that occur. Rohinton Mistry's style of writing has many similarities in both of his novels "A Fine Balance" and "Family Matters."Growing up in Bombay, India, Mistry uses his knowledge of his home town as a common setting for both novels. Both have many slums and residential areas called "jhopadpattis". These so-called houses have one big room with a communal water tap in the center of the street. These houses are constructed out of scrap wood and sheet metal. In order to go to the bathroom, tenants must walk across the road and sit on a rail in front of a train track. A Fine Balance, which is set in the mid 1970's and Family Matters, set in the mid 1990's share the same economic state. In both decades the country is poor and puts pressure on its citizens to acquire money. In Family Matters, Yezad is forced to work overtime and weekends just to pay for his children's education. The cost of school books and uniforms alone put financial strain on his family. In A Fine Balance Dina can not pay for her own flat, she is forced to have a paying guest and hire two tailors to work for her. Even the children feel pressure to help earn money, even though it may not always be the moral way. Omprakash is forced to work at the age of 15 and is denied an education because there is no time for school. When one of the children of a poor family hears his parents fight over money he feels he is responsible and tries to help out by taking bribes. "You see three boys who didn't do their homework gave money to the Homework Monitor to get good marks (Mistry, Family 261)." The economic state in both novels also creates social chaos. There becomes a huge division between rich and poor. People, including children, start to kill and steal. Rajam kills two beggars for their hair as he is a hair collector. Mr. Kapur is killed by thieves who try to rob his store. Mistry uses this setting to contribute to character development."A Fine Balance" and "Family Matters" both have many characters that have the same stereotype. Roxana, from" Family Matters", and Dina, from "A Fine Balance", both play stereotypical female roles, and do all the household chores and errands. When help is offered both refuse. "Let me help, he said pushing back his chair. No it's ok. She soaked the dishes in the kitchen for the morning and he watched (Mistry, Balance 229 230)." Both Roxana and Dina learn to accept help and eventually become more relaxed. "How did Roxana do it by herself, wondered Yezad, the lifting, the plastic, the bedpan day after day. And instead of praising...

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