Tiffany M. Lane AP Literature Mrs. Paradise Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya really focuses on the roles of women and men in India during the beginning of colonization. The book focuses mainly on the poverty and the culture aspect, while giving the reader insight on life in Indian during this time. The book offers a different story than the one we hear about India, it helps to stop the danger of a single story. The gender roles play a big part in this book like when Ira gets married, when the main character only has a girl for six years, when two characters do the dirty work, when the son leaves his wife, and when all the sons leave. The decline of women’s lives in India started a long, long time ago. Based on Ramayana’s Sita epic the lives of women in India was changed. In this epic, the woman is seen as bad, and because of this view changes take place starting around 400 B.C. Laws like Dharmaruhus and an important one Manusmriti are the reason for changes in the lives of women. The women are no longer able to receive an education, forced into early child marriages, and the idea of a strict and long marriage (Shrivastava). Ira’s marriage is not what her mom or her wants, but rather an expectation. Instead of thinking that Ira is good and they need to find someone who is worthy of her, they fear they won’t find someone who will take her. They find someone better than her and basically sell her to him. The way marriage is in India at this time is an exchange of money for a human being. Whoever has the most money to pay the suitor will have a better chance of a richer man. It seems all backwards, that the parents should pay to get rid of the daughter. I would think that the man would pay for the bride, the one he wants. Instead women are of little value other than to bring more men into the world. This idea of women leads to the conflict of Ira being thrown away by her husband because she didn’t have any kids for the six years of their marriage. The role of women in their society lead to heartbreak and depression for Ira. Even though Ira did suffer, it was alright for the husband to get rid of
her according to Hindu doctrines (Buckley).
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- Fall '19