What will be going to Tacha in "Because We Are So Poor"?will be tacha like her two sisters?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Tacha's fate is left suspended, like the fate of the calf to whom her destiny is apparently inextricably linked.  We simply do not know what will become of her.  There are some definite signs that what will happen to her will not be good.  The ideas that are brought out in the story is that human and physical nature can be awful and harsh.  The condition of poverty makes these natures even more painful to bear.  With this in mind, there is a streak of determinism in the story; no matter what Tacha does, she is doomed to follow in the footsteps of her older sister.  The author seems to conflate both the horrific aspects of the natural world and of humanity in Tacha- her tears are that of the rising water, her maturation seems to rise as the water level does, and her fate seems closer to be unavoidable.  I think there is an element of hopelessness in the work that indicates Tacha will go down the same path of her sisters.

However, having said all of this, I think that there might be another side that is to be raised.  It might be a bit on the optimistic one, and maybe not the intent of the author.  However, with the emergence of post colonial literature and the voices that resonate from it, I believe an alternate reading can be posited.  Economic determinism and fatalism are realities, but they can be offset, if not averted, to some extent.  For example, the narrator, who has seen his two sisters ruined by poverty and the lack of hope, might be able to assert his voice in changing this path for Tacha.  Perhaps, her father, who saw his first two daughters disgrace him, might be able to exert some level of greater influence and assistance to Tacha to allow her more opportunity than her sisters had.  Another alternative could be that Tacha herself might be able to establish a voice that her sisters could not.  She is living proof that change can happen, regardless of condition. Even on a smaller level within the story, they might find the calf, renewing hope for Tacha's fate.

Few would doubt the veracity of the claim that economic determinism plays a role in people's lives, and that natural forces can be overwhelmingly negative.  However, it is very important that we, as readers of post colonial literature or any work that seeks to bring new voices into the dialogue, do not lock the characters into a box from which there is no release.  It is important that we do not say, "Tacha is poor and rural, so she will become a prostitute." Certainly the conditions are not favorable and are not the most desirable.  Yet, this does not silence her voice and we should make sure that when we examine characters like Tacha, that we do not lock them into a natural or stratified condition that prevents any hope of voice, any reclamation of identity.  If we seek to bring new narratives, such as post colonial literature, into the discourse, we should bring them in with full dimension and scope, acknowledging both limitations with promises and possibilities.

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