What are some of Rukmani's struggles in "Nectar in a Sieve"?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rukmani, the main character goes through many struggles in this work, beginning with her marriage to a man from a lower social class than her family.

Her first struggle is to get used to the idea of living with her husband Nathan in a mud hut, with no furniture.  Rukmani was married off by her family to a poor farmer, due to the fact that her family had no dowry to provide her with for a more suitable marriage.

Rukmani struggles to adjust to her new life of poverty, discovering a talent for gardening, growing food on the property.

She also struggles with fertility.  Bearing her first child, a girl, Rukmani experiences a period of infertility.  She seeks the help of a white doctor, one she must learn to trust, in order to provide Nathan with sons.

She also must cope with the failure of her daughter, Ira's marriage.  After her marriage, Ira is unable to bear children with her husband, he brings her back to Rukmani and Nathan and divorces her.  Ira turns to a life of prostitution, giving birth to a son, Sacrabani, who suffers from being an albino.

Nathan and Rukmani also lose their home, their sons don't want to work on the farm, rather they work in the tannery.

"What is most striking about Rukmani is her acceptance of extraordinarily bad luck. Whether suffering a drought, a monsoon, or being stranded in an unfamiliar city with no money, she never allows herself to wallow in self-pity."    

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Nectar in a Sieve

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