Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya-Online Book Summary |
Ruku begins the chapter by comparing nature to a wild animal you have trained to work for you. India experiences annual monsoon rains - without them people die from lack of water; if they are too heavy, people die from flooding and ruined crops. This year the monsoon brings devastating floods, which destroy the rice crop. Because they have no ability to save for the future, families like Rukuís suffer greatly and hunger is unavoidable.
The suffering is not Rukuís alone; her trip to the village shows few have escaped unscathed. Only the tannery stands nearly untouched - a force so strong not even nature can stop it.
Like many poor people, Nathan and Ruku are faced with a difficult choice - do they spend their scant funds on overpriced food and delay hunger or do they save and hope to find food elsewhere? They decide to buy a bit of rice to tide them over until better times. Biswas, the moneylender, represents those that take advantage of their own less fortunate neighbors.
Rukuís encounter with Kenny illustrates one of the fundamental differences between them. He is angry that Ruku and her neighbors do not ďcry outĒ against injustice and ask the world for help in their time of need. Ruku, on the other hand, lives in a culture that teaches suffering in silence - one is expected to quietly bear the burdens one is given. What Kenny sees as weakness or failing in Ruku is actually a source of her strength; she will endure much more in her life but never once seems to pity herself or begrudge those who are more fortunate.
The chapter ends on a note of hope. With her familyís food problems solved at least temporarily, Ruku allows herself to once again dream of the future. She sees only bright possibility where many would see despair.
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Sinclair, Meredith. "TheBestNotes on Nectar in a Sieve".
. 09 May 2017