In Nectar in a Sieve, how was the family forced to adapt to the coming of the tannery?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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To the quiet, unsophisticated lives of Nathan and Rukmani, the coming of the tannery to their small village has the impact of transforming their village into a small town and changing it utterly from what they knew. The arrival of workers to the tannery and the way that this meant that prices for goods went up resulted in both hardships and opportunities, as basic commodities cost more, but also farming families could earn more by selling their crops. However, the poor harvest that Rukmani's family has means that they are in material want. The biggest way in which her family adapts to the arrival of the tannery is through the way that her two sons begin working there and how this takes them away from following in their father's footsteps and working on the land. Although this gives them the money that they need to survive, it also creates tension within the family. Note what we are told about this event:

A few days later he began working in the tannery, and before long Thambi, my second son, had joined him. The two of them had been very close to each other from their earliest years, and it was not strange that Thambi should follow his brother. Nathan and I both tried to dissaude him, but without avail. My husband especially had been looking forward to the day when they would join him in working on the land; but Thambi only shook his head.

Thus the central adaption that we can see evidence of is the way that the sons are forced to take work in the tannery to help earn enough money to provide for the family now that prices are going up so much.

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