Nectar in a Sieve Study Guide

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Nectar in a Sieve
1. What’s the setting of the novel?
The novel takes place in a village in rural India. Urbanization and industrialization have just been introduced in the 20th century.

2. What are the clues that it takes place in India aside from the Indian words? Beside the Indian words, the author shows the setting is in India by illustrating Rukmani and Nathan’s culture. For example, they wear saris and eat Indian foods like dhal.

3. What kind of character is Rukmani? How does the author describe her worth ethic? (As a mother, wife) Explain. Ruku is a dynamic character. For example, Kenny visits and “Once he came when I was suckling Selvam, my youngest son, who had turned three, and saw that my breasts were sore where the child’s mouth had been” (33) Rukmani has married at the age of twelve and already has had so many children. She adjusted her privileged life into a life with her new husband, Nathan. She has matured, and Rukmani has realized she has a family to take care of and a farm to run. The author illustrates her struggle in change. She cares a lot for her children and for Nathan. Throughout her coming of age, she does her best to support her family.

4. Characterize Nathan as a farmer/husband. Explain.
After Ruku tends to Kunthi after giving birth to her first child, she returns and Nathan is angered. He asks, “You look like a corpse. Whatever possessed you to stay so long?” (11) Once married, Nathan took everything in his power to make Ruku happy in her new home. Now that she is pregnant, he is simply concerned for her health. He strives to give happiness to Ruku. Also, while is she pregnant, Nathan insists on her rest and him working.

5. What is the main conflict in the story? Who was involved & how was it solved? Ruku’s main conflict is finding joy and happiness in her new life. She has to mature and become more independent and responsible. Her and her new husbands, Nathan, along with their children, face many...
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