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Essay on Indian Culture in A Stench of Kerosene

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Comment on what view of Indian culture is portrayed in A Stench of
Kerosene giving your own personal response.

' A Stench of Kerosene' , authored by the pen of Amrita Pritam, is a
tale of suffering and injustice in the rural areas of India. The
author tries to relate the life of a young Indian wife to the reader
in such a way that it leaves them feeling pity and remorse for her.
Within it there are elements of superstition, superiority, sexism and
ancient traditions. Evidently the portrayal of Indian culture is not
one that may be easily accepted by most western societies as it
reveals the actuality of Hindu culture in its extreme. It illustrates
how harsh it can be, especially towards the gentler sex.

The story opens with Guleri heeding to the call of a horse; ' The mare
was from her parents' village. She put her neck against its neck as if
it were the door to her parents' house.' In this line the mare
metaphorically represents her parents and her love for them, therefore
as soon as she hears it coming she ' ran out of the house'. This also
illustrates how deeply she misses her mother and father and how she is
anxious to be close to anything that may link her to them, even if it
is just a horse. ' she would come back her heart glowing with pride'
indicates how she feels towards her roots and home village. Guleri's
poignancy about her distance from her home also expresses her right as
a wife and daughter. The mere fact that she is only allowed a vacation
at her blood relations house once a year says something about the
harshness of Indian culture.

The annual harvest festival, a local traditional event, is described
by Amrita Pritam in such words that bring out the true colours of
Indian festivity, '...


... middle of paper ...


...omen in India.

'A Stench of Kerosene' contains multifarious techniques that allow the
author to engage many different points of view and effects. She writes
about her cultural heritage and its role in everyday life: the
supremacy of elders over ruling everything else, the discrimination of
women to such an extent that they are burnt alive, and superstition
that is dominant over all forms of logic and thinking.

My personal belief is that even though these people have traditions
that have been passed down from generation to generation, they are all
outdated and in some instances barbaric. Indians have a very deep
rooted history and therefore may find it hard to adapt to the modern
world, but as Amrita Pritam quite clearly illustrates; it is time to
proceed with life and forget the past, particularly with regard to the
oppressive treatment towards women.


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