What does the nectar in a sieve suggest about hope and despair?
Nectar in a sieve is symbolic of hope and despair. Nectar is something that gives sustenance, used in positive terms such as "nectar of the gods." This stands for the incredible hope the characters maintain even while going through seemingly hopeless situations. The sieve, on the other hand, is the despair that the futile situations create. A sieve is something through which things are drained; therefore, the nectar is simply flowing through the sieve - the hope is constantly disappointing. The characters wishes and attempts are seldom fulfilled.
The enotes critical essays will be helpful to you. Here is an excerpt from one entitled the positive message...:
" While some of the characters overcome adversity in some of its guises, they never overcome their hopeless situations, which is not a fate to which American readers are generally receptive. By reviewing the experiences of Rukmani, Nathan, their family, and other villagers, it will become clear that each character's life is marked by hopelessness. But, by briefly exploring the Eastern experience and mindset, it will also become clear that inner triumphs are possible, even amid unrelenting circumstances."
The title of this book refers to a poem by Samuel Coleridge that talks about hope and losing that hope to misfortune. Nectar is a sweet liquid that comes from flowers. it is also the drink of the gods in greek mythology. A sieve is a fine strainer used in cooking or labratories. Obviously nectar would not stay in a sieve, it just slips through, much like hope slips away in the midst of misfortune. I learned all this in a class discussion at school. I started reading the book in march 2008 and finished it early april 2008. hope this helps.