October 9, 2012
Words Are Mightier Than The Sword
The story “By Any Other Name,” by Santha Rau, explains the memory of the writer’s first and last week as a student at an Anglo-Indian school. Santha Rau speaks about the happy, sad, and embarrassing moments she had in school. She also speaks about how earning a “valid” education, in western terms, is difficult to achieve in India. When someone is in an environment where it is typical to hear insensitive and irresponsible language, s/he will likely become insensitive and irresponsible.
Insensitive and irresponsible speech typically becomes a chain reaction. Once someone speaks or says an insensitive or irresponsible thing, the other person will follow with being insensitive and irresponsible. An example was when Permila, Santha’s older sister, was getting ready to take a test, but the teacher made her and the other Indian kids sit in the back with a desk in between each other. The teacher said, “It was because Indians cheat.” Once Permila heard this insensitive statement, she stormed out of her class, marched into Santha’s class and told her “get up, were going home.” When she got to Santha’s class, the teacher smiled at her in a kindly and encouraging way and said “now, you’re little Cynthia’s sister?” Permila wore a poker face that did not betray a single emotion. Treating Santha’s teacher with an insensitive way, just like her teacher treated her.
Changing a name of a child is a confusing matter for the child to understand. A child is a stranger when it comes down to lying. Most children, from ages of 3-6, are innocent and do not know how to lie. The head mistress changed Permila’s name to Pamela, and Santha’s name to Cynthia. Santha was too young to understand and was okay with the name changing. Permila kept a “stubborn silence” while Santha replied, “thanks you.” And when the teacher asked Santha for her name, she replied, “I don’t know.” She was confused; thus,...