SIGNIFICANCE AND APPROPRIATENESS OF THE TITLE
Just like love spreads its fragrance, betrayal traps stench. This story begins with the “ climax fairly close” to the events in the past and giving a complete picture of the proceedings creating “ a full picture of the whole tragedy”. Guleri ending her life in the most tragic manner, the birth of a son to Manek’s second wife, Manek refusing to take the baby saying he gets the the smell of kerosene creates a suitable background making the title ‘Stench of Kerosene’ ideal. The strain of dramatic effect running throughtout the story reveals the whole episode in a very eloquent manner.
Repetition of words “take him away, he stinks of kerosene” emphasizes his extreme dejection. The story is not that of Manek’s wife’s tragic end alone but it also touches upon the grief, guilt and sadness of Manek.
Kerosene being inflammable, odourous and dangerous fuel symbolises the intense sorrow and disaster caused to Guleri, as a result of Manek’s family conceptions.
The music of flute associating with joy and stench of kerosene associating with tragic death of Guleri emphasizing the contrasting events in the married life of Manek and Guleri due to the contrasting features of Indian culture and the basic rights of man-woman marriage creating an extremely unpleasant and tragic atmosphere.
DIFFERENT WAYS IN WHICH THE TITLE CONVEYS THE PLIGHT OF MANEK AND GULERI IN THE STORY
The story 'Stench of Kerosene' by Amrita Pritam is a tragic story of a married couple who are victim of the stringent customs of the Indian society. Amrita starts the story by introducing us to Guleri who is a cheerful girl from a wealthy family married to Manek. As the story unfolds we learn that, not only is Guleri a loving and caring wife, but she performs her duties as a daughter in law as prescribed by the traditions of the Hindu marital doctrine. The author also discusses how Guleri misses her family, as she used to walk with her husband upto the hill which provided her with a glimpse of her home town. The author discusses the one opportunity on the harvesting festival Guleri had every year to see her family and friends for a few days. The author here also talks about the child like desires and the innocence of Guleri. It is important to note here that her character is not absent of the child like stubborness. The author indicates that Guleri has not been able to bear a child. At this point we are introduced to Manek, the husband of Guleri. The scene of departure of Guleri for her hometown is dramatic, as Manek tries to dissuade her from leaving as he is aware of his Mother's plan to bring another wife for Manek, as she believes that Guleri had not fulfilled her duty of a good wife as she could not bear a child. Manek loves Guleri by all means, but he lacks the strength, dignity, independence or or individuality in the company of his parents because Manek’s mother seems to be a dominant character in the family. This is clear in the way in which she treats Manek after Guleri’s departure. He was so scared of his mother that he does not reveal to Guleri the impending threat to their marriage, however dangerous it would be. He does try to stop her from going . He finds himself stuck in a situation he didn’t want to be in. His reactions such as pulling at his hookah and closing his eyes clearly suggested that he was upset about the fact that Guleri was going, however, Guleri was too excited to realize this . Like a stubborn kid she ignores all his pleads and continues her journey. Guleri’s vulnerability is vivid in her innocence which does not allow her to think analytically about her in-laws even after seven years of her married life in their company. Unconscious of the gravity of her failure to have a child of her own and her in-laws’ displeasure over it, she takes for granted Manek’s behaviour on the occasion of her departure. On their journey towards Chamba , Manek is reminded of the first...
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