Silphi Somaya Gowda's Secret Daughter

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Families in poverty often have to make painful sacrifices in order to survive. Women in third world countries during the 1980s often had to put their families’ needs above their own. In the novel Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, through the use of flashbacks, negative tone and painful diction, the author emphasizes the sacrifices and grief poverty forces Kavita to endure in order to ensure a better life for her family.
The use of flashbacks displays the painful sacrifices poverty leads Kavita to make in order to guarantee the betterment of her family. Upon giving birth to yet another child, Kavita’s fear surfaces as she remembers the pain of giving up her newborn daughters. In the old Indian culture, daughters are of no use and Kavita knows hers are either “drowned, suffocated, or simply left to starve,” (7). The memory Kavita has about her daughters shows the suffering she has to endure. Only sons will be able to help provide a better life for her family and the use of flashbacks signifies that she still remembers the pain she has to endure everyday from the loss of her daughters, as she is poor. Aside from her children, Kavita gives up her name, something that she values and for which she often resents her husband. After naming her daughter, on the way to the orphanage Kavita recalls the moment her husband’s family changed her name because it “suited them and the village astrologer better than Lalita, the only name her parents had chosen…it was expected that these would change to her husband’s. But she resented Jasu for taking her first name as well,” (25). Kavita fells that names are powerful and this memory serves as a reminder for the girl she is about to lose and the pain and sacrifices that Jasu causes her, inclu...

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...eing of her family even though she has to suppress them. Thus, Kavita frequently has to put aside her feelings in order to keep her family out of poverty and ensure their wellbeing.
In conclusion, the author uses flashbacks as an indicator of the painful grievances Kavita faces due to poverty. Throughout the novel, painful, sorrowful diction as well as negative tone display Kavita putting her family’s wellbeing financially, above her own feelings and emotions. Though she adores Usha, her duty is to her husband and son and thus she puts her feelings aside and tries to make them happy and financially stable. Thus, the use of flashbacks, painful diction and negative tone illustrate the brutality poverty thrusts on Kavita, forcing her to sacrifice herself for her family.

Works Cited

Gowda, Shilpi Somaya. Secret daughter. New York, NY: William Morrow, 2010. Print.
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