Sold, by Patricia McCormick Essay

Sold, by Patricia McCormick Essay

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Symbolism is a poetic and literary element that interacts with readers and engages their feelings and emotions. In Sold, thirteen-year-old Nepali girl, Lakshmi, is forced to take a job to help support her family. Involuntarily, she ends up in prostitution via the Happiness House; this sex trafficking battle forces Lakshmi to envision her future and possibility of never returning home. The very first vignette of the novel speaks of a tin roof that her family desperately needs, especially for monsoon season. At the brothel, Lakshmi works to pay off her debt to the head mistress, Mumtaz, but cannot seem to get any sort of financial gain in her time there. Both the tin roof and the debt symbolize unforeseen and improbable ambitions, yet she finds the power within herself to believe. How does Lakshmi believe in herself despite her unfathomable living conditions and occupation?
The poverty that Lakshmi and her family face is inconceivable. The thought of not having money to fix their roof, sufficient food supplies, or enough money to enjoy simple luxuries is made clear in the beginning of the story. Lakshmi sees the possibility of her going to the city for a job as an opportunity to help her family and to earn wages to aid in their financial struggle, as well as self-confidence and to prove that she is a hard worker. Ama, her mother, is subordinate to her husband and follows all directions. When Lakshmi and Ama are enjoying popcorn and a cigarette, respectively, Ama says that with that year’s crop, they may be able to afford some new things. All Lakshmi thinks of is the tin roof. The realization of not getting a new roof sets in when they think of all of the payments and expenses that need to occur before ...


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...stepfather received when he sold Lakshmi is all her family gained from the sexual enslavement. For me, the physical tin roof needed for an improvement of shelter disappeared amidst the struggle for freedom, but Lakshmi showed compassion and effort in order to return home. Reclaiming her life involved risking everything, yet her willpower and purpose proved to be enough after one year of forced prostitution. The symbolic relationship between the tin roof and her debt is consistent throughout every vignette. In the end, both objects dissipated leaving only one completed goal: personal triumph. Her suffrage was inspired by Ama’s words: “Simply to endure … is to triumph” (McCormick, p. 16). The tin roof and debt symbolize her struggle as a woman and having the power to fight for freedom.



Works Cited

McCormick, P. (2006). Sold. New York: Hyperion Books.

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