Critical Essay-Pig's Can't Fly

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Shyam Selvadurai’s Pigs can’t fly is the story of a young boy who is torn by reality and his family’s efforts to suppress his true sexuality. His internal conflict eventually leads him to self destruction, when his beloved sari is torn into pieces. Because of the gender social norms of his family, he is forced to transition form the beautiful, loving world of the girls to the harsh, unforgiving world of the boys. In Shyam Selvadurai’s Pigs can’t fly, the gender social norms imposed upon Arjie causes turmoil within him, and ultimately destroys him morally. His turmoil is caused by his mother’s rejection of him, his cousin Her Fatness’s weakening of his influence amongst the girls, his feelings of not belonging with the boys, and his forced transition to the world of the boys. In Pigs can’t fly, Amma rejects Arjie by not letting him watch her change and play with her jewelry, which ultimately torments him. Arjie had always been used to being present while his mother got ready for spend-the-day. He always enjoyed watching her drape her sari, and playing with her jewelry which he found so beautiful. After speaking with Arjie’s father, Amma realizes that if Arjie turns out “funny”, she will be blamed. She sets out to correct Arjie and forever destroys their relationship in the process. “I crept quietly to my bedroom, sat down on the edge of my bed, and stared at my feet for a long time. It was clear to me I had done something wrong, but what it was I couldn’t comprehend. I thought of what my father said about turning out “funny”.” (355) This quotation explains Arjie’s feeling of rejection from his mother. She cares and looks after him for his entire life, and then she simply dismisses him like that. Arjie clearly doesn’t comprehend what he had done wrong. He had overheard his parents arguing about him the night before, so he knows only to blame himself. Ultimately, his blaming of himself leads him to turmoil, and his lowering of self worth. Later on after several...
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