In Santha Rama Rau’s short story By Any Other Name, the girls were forced to fit the description of young Indian girls in the time period in which British ruled India. In other words, the headmistress of there new school felt that their original Indian names weren’t “pretty” enough. The main character, Santha, really was too young to understand the racial background of “pretty” as used in the excerpt, because she was only five years and half of age. Therefore Santha and Premila (main character older sister) was changed from Santha and Premila to Cynthia and Pamela.
Now that they have received their new and pretty names, they need new friends. It was said to be a dozen Indian children in the school- which contained perhaps forty children in all, and four of them were in Santha’s new class. When Santha got into the new class she realized all the Indian girls like her was sitting in the far back of the class. In my eyes as a reader, this shows me the segregation in the atmosphere of the school. This also reveals to me that Santha Rama Rau was fascinated with the interactions between people from different cultures.
On the other hand, Santha’s oldest sister, Premila, was trying to accept the cultural differences into her life, until test day when her attitude changed abruptly. Premila even went home after her first day of school, and suggested that her mother pack easier lunches such as sandwiches like the other students, instead of the Indian food they are use to. On test day, Premila’s teacher told her to sit in the back of the room with the other Indian girls. When Premila ask why was this, the teacher answered, and said because “Indians cheat”. As a reader, I believe Mrs. Santha Rama Rau was trying to portray her childhood education as a young Indian girl. The obstacles she had to overcome to be a better scholar.
She storms out of the room, and went to get Santha. They walked away from, the school, and promised to never come back. I believe them walking away...