Stephanie Solis
Honors Elem. Lit. Period 1
May 27, 1999

Nectar in a Sieve

"There is no going back. Bend like the grass that you do not break," is Nathan's advice to Rukmani when she thinks they can return to their old ways after that tannery came to their village. Nathan knows better; the workers, their way of living, and the tannery itself will have a great impact on their simple way of life, and it will remain changed forever. It will be bigger than the village, overtake it, and cause much trouble for the simple farmers who live there. The village must lean with the new customs and learn to adjust in order to stay strong and survive.

Rukmani learns that this is a wiser choice to make than to let everything in life give her addition troubles. While she is in disbelief, shame, and anger that Ira became a prostitute, she soon accepts it as her only means of support for herself and her child. Rukmani lives with the fact, and in a way, benifits from it because Ira was able to take care of herself for the most part with her new source of income.

When she and Nathan first begin their job crushing stones, they have trouble and feel like they could not possibly do it. They can't break them properly, if at all, and the rest of the workers seem so much more skilled at it. But eventually, they adapt to the work and gain the skill needed to do the task. They make money and are possibly better off than they ever were farming.

However, Rukmani also sometimes does not follow Nathan's warning. When she became the rival of Kunthi, she lets her anger build up inside of her. Later, she becomes so completely enraged she attempted to murder her-- only to end up injuring her own daughter instead. When one does not bend with their troubles, additional hardships and grief come about, Ruku learns.

Rukmani eventually keeps to this lesson. She is able to let poverty, the deaths of her sons and of Nathan occur and still keep hope. Ruku shows true survival, and discovers that hope and acceptance are what she needs most to succeed in this.