A fine balance
‘A Fine Balance’ is the title of Rohinton Mistry’s most renowned novel. However, what is the balance that needs to be maintained? Why must one have this balance? What happens if one does not maintain this balance? The answers to these questions are found in the lives of four diverse individuals: Omprakash, Ishvar, Dina and Maneck. Thus, the titular, ‘A Fine Balance’ refers to the balance of qualities within a person’s nature, the balance between caste systems and the balance of hope and despair in ones’ life. Dina’s elder brother reveals the balance of qualities within a person’s nature right away in the novel. At the beginning of the novel, Nusswan a brother one would want to have. He is abusive to Dina, and forces her to drop out of school and do all the household chores. Dina is forbidden to spend time with her friends and do any leisurely activities. Nusswan has total control of her, and punishes her if she does anything in opposition to him. Once, when Dina cuts her hair, Nusswan calls her a, “polluted creature” (Mistry: 29), takes her to the bathroom and strips her of her clothes. “He pinched one, hard, and she flinched. ‘Look at you with your little breasts starting to grow. You think you are a woman already.’” (Mistry: 30) He makes Dina feel uncomfortable and fearful of him. “He was eyeing her strangely, and she grew afraid. She turned away and started to cry, her hands over her face.” (Mistry: 30) However, as the novel develops, Nusswan’s behavior becomes quite the contrary. Nusswan saves up money for Dina’s wedding, and always has best interest at heart (marriage, good husband). Furthermore, after Dina’s husband passes away, Nusswan supports her financially and provides her with a place to live. He takes care of her, and does not abuse her like he did before. As a whole, his character has a balance of both, good and bad qualities.
Another character that has a balance of qualities is the Beggarmaster. When he is first introduced in...
Cited: Mistry, Rohinton. A Fine Balance. Toronto: M & S, 2002. Print.
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