Sometimes, an author will both draw upon and question certain traditions he/she is writing about; in this case, Markandaya is primarily interested in the cultural traditions of India. To 'draw upon' is to make references to those traditions in order to tell a compelling story. To 'question' those traditions is to present those traditions and their consequences in a way that causes the reader to wonder at the necessity of them.
In the book, Markandaya draws upon Indian cultural traditions to tell a story about the lives of a poverty-stricken family in a remote Indian village. Rukmani (Ruku) and Nathan are the parents of a daughter and six sons. In Chapter 1, Ruku tells us that she was married to Nathan at the age of twelve. This means that she was a child bride, a tradition not uncommon in India today.
Markandaya skilfully presents the panorama of emotions that Ruku experiences as she is taken to her husband's new home, a pitiful shack Nathan built himself from mud and thatch. As a...
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