At the start of the story as Guleri and Manak talk about plans for the next day when Guleri will travel to the fair. Guleri asks Manak why he will not come with her this once. She asks – “Your Mother’s said nothing so why do you stand in the way? ” Manak then responds by saying “My Mother… ” The ellipsis signifies that Manak is trying to say something that will reveal why he doesn’t want her to go to the fair. We later discover he doesn’t want Guleri to know of his Mothers plans for a second marriage. Presumably as he doesn’t want to ruin Guleri’s visit to her old Village she enjoys so much.
After this conversation Guleri asks other questions asking why Manak can’t attend the fair but Manak remains solemn and does not answer. He is unable to admit to his Mothers plans which he feels obliged to stick to and is consequently saddened by. He may also be worried about Guleri’s reaction. Secondly in “Looking for a Rain God” Tension is created by the circumstances and setting of the story. We are informed in the early part of the story that a drought has covered the land where are living. We are also informed that some men “hung themselves to death” because they could not endure the unbearable heat.
This sentence along with others describing the extreme heat creates an ominous mood this in turn creates Tension. This is because the reader understands the events that have been occurring and are now braced for any extreme events to come. Therefore tension is created as we almost expect something tragic to happen before we become deeply involved in the story itself. Tension is also created by the effects on the life of Manak and the people around him after the death of Guleri. Firstly Manak cannot accept his second marriage because of the relationship he shared with Guleri.
This makes his second wife feel unloved and she exclaims “I’m just someone he happened to marry”. Manak we assume isn’t purposefully brushing his new wife to the side and treating her in this way intentionally. We assume he is still deeply grieved about his true love dieing. Manak also has a child with his new wife. As the story says – “A son was duly born” but sadly a dramatic reaction from Manak shows that he has no feelings for his new wife and child as he yells “He Stinks of Kerosene”. This is a very potent sentence as it directly links birth and the death of Guleri.
The significance of the baby stinking of kerosene shows that even as his young baby son is placed on his lap, a time of happiness in the worst times for some, he is still thinking about Guleri. This shows the dedicated and permanent love he shared for her. Quite evidently from the second story “Looking for a Rain god” the dramatic consequences of the deaths causes grief and regret that shames the family. We are told in the penultimate paragraph of the story that the “mother of the children broke down and told everything”.
This would indicate that although the Adults within the story agreed on the plan of action they were to take they couldn’t in fact carry the burden of keeping their deeds a secret. As more questions were asked about the deaths of the two girls suspicions and pressure raised. The pressure rose until the mother couldn’t face the family’s deeds so she confessed. Tension is also heightened by this as the reader is in suspense anxious to find how long it is or if the truths are conveyed before the mother finally confesses.
It is clear from reading “A Stench of Kerosene” that Pritam has a strong viewpoint about the belief or custom she describes. The Custom described in this story is bigamy and you would feel by reading the story that Pritam is passionately against bigamy and the consequences it entails. The most obvious way is by the plot. In this Story Manak does not tell his wife, Guleri, he is to marry for a second time and as a result he marries his second wife without Guleri having knowledge of it. Guleri then tragically kills herself as she hears the painful news.
Pritam is able to express herself in the writing as we assume if Pritam was pro-bigamy then Guleri would have returned home after the Fair in Chamba and accepted the new woman because of the culture surrounding her. This sadly is not the case and we get a clear intention that Pritam is anti-Bigamy because of the catastrophic way in which Guleri dies. One may say that in this situation the stronger the authors viewpoint the more passionate and emotional their writing becomes. Pritam is strongly anti-bigamy so Guleri dies in a compelling way.
Another way Pritam shows her feelings of bigamy in her writing is by the presentation of Manak’s Mother. You will have noticed when reading the story that Manak’s Mother makes the secret resolve to get Manak a second wife and she also pays for this woman and seemingly accommodates her into their home. At the start of the story after reading the whole of the story you will understand that Manak is trying to tell Guleri about his Mothers plan when she leaves for the Fair in Chamba but he doesn’t seem able to tell her. The reader could believe that Manak is afraid of and obedient to his Mother and this makes the Mother sound unattractive.
The reader becomes emotionally attached to the relationship of Manak and Guleri and as Pritam presents the Mother as someone who poses a threat to this relationship the reader automatically regards the Mother unattractively. The final way in which the Mother is presented unattractively is by her judgemental frame of mind. After Manak is evidently sad about Leaving Guleri for Chamba his mother asks “Why do you croak like an old woman? ” The reader may regard this as rude and inconsiderate seeing as Manak has just left Guleri, someone he obviously cares about leaving. This puts the Mother in an unattractive light.
Bessie Head also purveys her feelings of the custom she describes. Readers assume that Head is against murder and sacrifice as once again a different outcome would have probably been a likely possibility if Bessie Head agreed with Sacrifice. In the story the family crack under pressure as more questions are asked about their daughters. Finally the mother ‘tells everything’ and Ramadi and Mokgobja are sentenced to the death penalty for “Ritual Murder” a law of the land where they lived. Head is against Murder because we assume that the family would have survived the ordeal.
Ramadi and Mokgobja would most likely have lived rain would have of fallen and the story of the young girls quickly forgotten. I believe that although the reader quickly blames Manak’s mother for the death of Guleri, there could be a whole range of possible alternative interpretations. Some readers may believe that if Guleri had not have reacted so drastically as she did and accepted that Manak was complying with his customs she may not have dramatically committed suicide. Other readers may argue that Guleri should have the right to have been told that Manak was to marry a second time while she visited the fair in Chamba.
These readers may believe that it was maybe Manak’s fault Guleri kills herself. Maybe Guleri feels ashamed and humiliated by her husband as he doesn’t tell her a life changing event that is going to happen. Readers may state that the person who’s life would be most affected by the second marriage would be Guleri. Therefore Manak should have faced his fears of his mother and left his cowardness in the past behind him? Finally although we assume that Bessie Head is most definitely against murder and sacrifice we understand in the last line of the story she can appreciate why it still occurs in our civilised world up and to this day.
In her story she states the other villagers “could have killed something to make the rain fall”. This makes the reader understand the dire situation the villagers were coping with and how Ramadi’s family cracked under pressure first. The punishment the husband and granddad received saved other possible tragedies in the village. Henry Courtier 10T Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section. Download this essay Print Save Not the one? Search for y