Kenny, Rukmani, and Acceptance for FYS Journal

/ 23 October 2010

Kenny is one of the few white men in the story, he's not rich, but also not below the poverty line. As a white man in India he has those who despise him, but overall many come to him for guidance and help. His attitude toward acceptance seems like he's content with his position, but understands himself as the minority. He seems to hold some power with the Indians, as I can see in the scene where he's talking with one after another (just before Rukmani follows him). But even with his power, the reality of how they view him is clear in his actions. He isn't wanted by some, so he avoids them, but for those who like him, he's there to discuss what they want from/with him.

Rukmani, on the other hand, is the indian mother in the story. Her circumstances are as the mother in a poor family who can barely survive during times of trial (ie: the drought). The family lives as sharecroppers to what seems like a greedy landowner. Her acceptance is basically as a poor mother and wife with barely any money and food. Her attitude towards this acceptance seems quite content with her situation, but isn’t that fine with some of the way her husband (Nathan) holds her back. In her youth she was greatly independent, but after her marriage she was forced into the role of submission. Though she survives in the role, we see times when her emotions show us that she cares that her daughter not fall into the same path (ie: when her daughter is returned by her daughter's husband).

My own views of acceptance seem closer to Kenny's, no doubt partly because of the shared race. I'm not a minority in race the way he is in India, but I have the understanding to know how the minority most likely feels. This is important because it means that I can anticipate how they may respond in certain situations. With that I do feel a little bit like I could potentially help bridge the potential gaps between minorities and majorities, but it would still be dependent on the circumstances. But my attitude towards acceptance will shift depending on circumstances. I assume that this is the same way for the characters listed above from Nectar in a Sieve.

My beliefs towards this end have been shaped based on my experiences in our society. Without knowing anything else I exist in the middle-class life that sustains me here. Specific factors of this life that assisted in forming my attitudes towards acceptance are hard to figure out, but would most likely align with times I was not at home. In other words, the close relationships any family member has with others in the family can't help build my beliefs towards acceptance because by definition of being in a family we each accept each other. But when I'm out and about in the community (at school, at a store, walking down the sidewalk) how people react to me helps form my beliefs about my acceptance in society. Some people may glare at me and walk faster, others may want to talk to me, each of these reactions play their own role in forming my beliefs towards acceptance.

Finally, two questions that may cause productive discussion from the first half of the book that we've now read would be: 1. What would you do, while living in the place of your home (ie: not CSB/SJU), if the troubles of lack of food and money befell you?; How would you be able to have assisted the family during that time of drought if you were in India?