Nectar in a Sieve Essay The novel Nectar in a Sieve contains many themes that throughout the book prove to be vital to the survival and development of the protagonist, a middle-aged Indian woman by the name of Rukmani, and the rest of her impoverished Indian family. From a young age, Rukmani had to learn to be resourceful in order to provide for her future family and support her husband, a tenant farmer named Nathan, who she had never met before. The author, Kamala Markandaya, depicts Rukmani as an extremely courageous and compassionate woman who persists through numerous accounts of poverty and disaster out of unadulterated devotion for those she loves. Rukmani’s actions and story provides to the reader many important and teachable lessons they can draw from the book that will help them see things through a different lens.
One valuable moral I have grasped onto after reading the novel was that of perseverance. This is a reoccurring theme in Rukmani especially. As a character, she had to persevere through many tragic occurrences such as seeing one of her infants die from starvation, witnessing her own daughter turn to prostitution, not to mention losing countless family members leaving her to feel endless regret and suffering which she had to be very strong to overcome time and time again. As her husband Nathan is dying, a distressed Rukmani turns to him asking, “If I grieve, it is not for you, but for myself, beloved, for how shall I endure to live without you, who are my love and my life?” (185). As the matriarch of the family, Rukmani was forced to face the sad truths of these situations much more than one should. Another value I drew from the novel was rising above tradition. Although tradition is very important in the Hindu culture and to many others still today, Rukmani is tested to see if she can see past some of these old customs in light of the greater good of her family. One of Rukmani’s particular strengths lies in confronting her own misconceptions, as people and events often challenge her traditional views. An example would be when her grandson is her born different, as an albino, he is frowned upon by many, and looked at as a freak. She takes it upon herself to see the beauty in the child, to accept him, and to not blame it