Can you please give 4 characteristics of Koly from Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Providing page numbers is difficult because of multiple editions of the text.  I will provide some quotes that I hope will help you out.  

First, Koly is a young Indian girl.  That puts her at an immediate disadvantage because the caste system that surrounds her doesn't put much value on women.  Despite that, Koly is a dreamer.  She longs to be independent and free of the various forms of oppression that have been placed upon her.  One form of oppression that Koly has to deal with is her marriage to Hari.  He’s bedridden and extremely ill, yet despite his physical frailty, he bosses Koly around like a slave.  

"You have to do what I tell you because you are my wife, and besides I'm not well."

His family, the Mehtas, employ this kind of behavior too.  Koly dreams of running away from this situation.  

I longed to beg my parents to take me home. I would promise to eat very little and work very hard. But I could not ask such a thing. To refuse to go through with the marriage would bring dishonor on my family.

As the previous quote shows, Koly may dream of running away to improve her life; however, she is unwilling to bring dishonor to her family by doing that.  This attitude shows that she respects her family’s decision.  It also shows that Koly is mentally strong enough to persevere through difficult situations.  

Once Hari dies, Koly is once again able to seriously examine the possibility of making a life of her own.  She eventually is able to break free of the Mehta family, and she begins financially supporting herself by using her embroidery skills.  This shows that Koly has a great deal of courage and confidence in herself.  It also shows that she is quite independent.  

As I saw the fearful looks of the widows who were to take our place, I realized how much things had changed for me. I had friends and a secure job, and now I had Raji.

By the time that the story gets near the end, Koly is such an independent woman that she seriously considers whether marrying Raji is worth it or not.  Koly is unwilling to have marriage compromise the happiness that she has worked so hard to attain.  In the beginning of the story, she may have romanticized marriage, but by the end of the story, she knows that she doesn’t want a marriage if it means giving up everything that she has worked for.  It’s that strength of character that Raji likes about Koly.  It’s why he builds her a special embroidery room so that she can continue her work.  She enters her new marriage knowing that it will be a partnership of equals.  

Once again I began a quilt for my dowry. My first quilt was stitched as I worried about my marriage to Hari, the second in sorrow at Hari's death. Chandra's quilt was stitched to celebrate her happiness. This time as I embroidered, I thought only of my own joy.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Being able to deliver pages numbers is going to be difficult because different versions of the book's printing exist.  Yet, I think that there are some overall characteristics where textual support is abundant.  I would say that Koly is devoted to her family.  She understands that while the marriage is not something that she embraces joy nor about which there is excitement, it is something that she has to do for her family.  Accordingly, I think that loyalty is a critical element that Koly possesses.  She is loyal to her mother in law and the responsibilities that being a daughter carries even though she is mistreated.  I would say that courage is another trait, for when in Vrindavan, she makes the conscious choice to break free of her former life and try a new state of being in the world.  Finally, I think that there is a belief of redemption that is present in Koly's character makeup, as she is convinced that her new life is something that will work, can work, and something worthy of working out for her best.

k5ado0oy | Student