Comparative Essay on Nectar in a Sieve and ZenZele

1446 Words6 Pages
During the transition into independence, Zimbabwe and India were amidst peril while economic, cultural, and political changes shook natives to their core. Each of these novels explore, through two women’s eyes, relationship, family, and their personal struggles to redefine their role in society during a time of great social transition. Kamala Markandaya, author of Nectar in a Sieve, does a beautiful job of recounting a realistic tale of Rukmani and her family as they face the repercussions of starvation, infertility, job loss, drought, and prostitution, while J. Nozipo Maraire, who wrote ZenZeLe, gives a historic account of the Zimbabwean hardship through a Mother’s letter to her daughter. The latter is retold from old memories, while Nectar in a Sieve is written as events happen. Markandaya’s writing style compels her audience to feel as if we are experiencing life by her side, making the novel both poignant and powerful. Throughout this essay I will discuss how Nectar in a Sieve and ZenZeLe shine light on the “winners” and “losers” of development through a woman’s perspective. This essay will also consider those changes and apply them to the concept of the word development as it applies to a woman’s private and public life. The title Nectar in a Sieve reveals much about the novel itself, and encompasses the way hope shaped Rukmani’s private and public life. First let’s discuss the metaphor this title represents. Sieves are meant to separate precious material from large quantities of unwanted, worthless stones. As soon as nectar is introduced to the mix it becomes extremely difficult to separate the good from the bad. I believe the sieve alludes to the intrinsic hope Rukmani and Nathan use to sift what precious experiences they could out of a world that seemed to be crumbling around them. Whether it be infertility, death, or losing the land they had
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