Hope And Despair-Nectar In a Sieve Essay

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In this question we are asked to discuss the dialectical tension between hope and despair in Nectar in a Sieve. Indeed those themes are constantly emerging from the novel throughout the story. The title seems to actually be a reference to Coleridge’s poem “Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve, and hope without an object cannot live”. The author actually cites the quote at the beginning of her novel. Nectar in the sieve is referring to the goodness of life that will go through a sieve. Therefore the nectar can only be enjoyable if it’s savored before going through the sieve. This is directly applying to the dialectical tension between hope and despair. In order to better understand the concept we have to go through the plot and the character’s feelings and emotions.
    The main character of the novel is Rukmani who is married to a poor Farmer, Nathan. She was only twelve when she got married. She had to give up her life for a new one that involved running a household. From there, her life story is filled with misfortune, hope and despair. Indeed Rukmani’s family is very poor and struggle in everyday’s life. Throughout the novel, misfortune keeps hitting her family and despair often seems to take over. However, the only thing that keeps Rukmani going is hope. Indeed the main character expresses her hope as a recurrent motivation when she says: “In that field, in the grain which had not yet begun to form, lay our future and our hope” . However she also mentions fear as the opposite direction of hope. On the same page she explains that hope and fear are “Twin forces that tugged at us first in one direction and then in another, and which was the stronger no one could say” . The narrator also mentions despair “ready to engulf [the peasant] should he falter” . This last quote is very important to understand when we talk about dialectical tension. Indeed based on the novel, if a peasant loses courage or confidence, despair will fall upon him. I believe that the...

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