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Nectar in a Sieve

Nectar in a Sieve

by Kamala Markandaya

Nectar in a Sieve Analysis

Literary Devices in Nectar in a Sieve

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The tannery is, among many things, a symbol of modernity. It transforms the village environmentally and economically. It also transforms the relationships between the people within the village. Peo...

Setting

PlacePart One of the novel takes place in an unnamed village in rural India, while Part Two takes place in an unnamed major city in urban India. Markandaya’s decision to avoid specifics is de...

Narrator Point of View

Rukmani is the narrator of her own story, which she tells in a flashback. As with any story told in the first person, it’s important to remember that everything the narrator tells is selected...

Genre

Literary FictionMarkandaya’s novel is a literary account of a changing India. Still, it doesn’t focus on political or economic details, instead choosing to follow only one matriarch. Ma...

Tone

Markandaya is an Indian writer living in England and writing in English about a life of rural poverty that is not exactly her own. Markandaya was sometimes criticized as less than authentic because...

Writing Style

Rukmani’s narrative is presented in a matter-of-fact style. She doesn’t abstract or intellectualize her circumstances. Often she gives the reader a "this happened, then this, then this"...

What’s Up With the Title?

The line "Nectar in a Sieve" is taken from a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which you can read about in "What’s Up with the Epigraph." Without analyzing the poem, the title alone reflects s...

What’s Up With the Epigraph?

"Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve, And hope without an object cannot live."The epigraph comes from the 1825 poem "Work without Hope" by the English Romantic poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.A...

What’s Up With the Ending?

The ending of the book can be seen as an open-ended passageway asking the reader to imagine the rest of Ruku’s life. Within the context of the narrative structure, the ending marks the comple...

Plot Analysis

Rukmani marries Nathan and moves to his modest home to start a life and family.This is one of the best times in Rukmani’s life. Her marriage is underway, and her husband, Nathan, is kind to h...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Booker’s plot structure doesn’t perfectly fit this novel because the story is not told in a usual style leading up to a single end or climatic event. There are elements of "The Quest,"...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Rukmani and Nathan must finally give up on their land as their plot is being sold to the tannery. They must leave to the city to find their son Murugan and a new life.Rukmani and Nathan are destitu...

Trivia

Kamala Markandaya’s personal life is somewhat of a mystery. A World Author Series biography of her stalled for a long time, as no one could pin down obvious personal details. One writer liken...

Steaminess Rating

There’s only one sex scene in Nectar in a Sieve, and outside of that one discussion there’s not much in the way of explicit sexual description. Instead, sexuality is more present in the...

Allusions

Samuel Coleridge (epigraph)

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