The Vendor of Sweets is, in many ways, a story about the ways that marriages are built to tie up two people's autonomy together and ultimately to give husbands power and control over their wives. Jagan and Akimba's marriage is presented as traditional. Jagan, the husband, has complete control over Akimba, who serves him. This control extends to his ability to forbid her access to potentially life-saving medication for a disease she is suffering from.
When Akimba dies, Jagan's son, Mali, blames Jagan's commitment to tradition and to maintaining power over Akimba for her death. This causes Mali to reject traditional marriage in favor of something different. Mali finds westerners who also challenge these traditional views of marriage and eventually falls in love with, but does not marry, a woman named Grace, with whom he shares power cooperatively.
The Vendor of Sweets was written by R. K. Narayan and published in 1967. It tells the story of Jagan, who sells sweets in a fictional Indian town....
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