In Kamala Markandaya's Nectar in a Sieve, several times Rukmani refers to the stone god and goddess in the temple. What might Markandaya be saying about the role of religion in the characters' lives?

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Rukmani is the main character and narrator in Nectar in a Sieve. She is an Indian woman trained to be a compliant and devoted wife who was married at age 12 in an arranged ceremony to a complete stranger, and she has a skeptical view of the gods and goddesses so integral to her Hindu culture. This point is made all the more ironic when one considers that she is named for the principal wife and queen of the god Krishna.

There are numerous references to the gods and goddesses—both the statues in the temple and otherwise—that seem tainted by a cynical, secular point of view. Because while Rukmani seems to believe in them as her culture demands, she also makes statements that indicate her prayers are futile; that the gods are far too busy to address the machinations and whims of every lowly human that prays to them for help (including her).

She exudes feelings of hopelessness that these gods and goddesses will protect her from or assist her with her various miseries—from monsoons to...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 621 words.)

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