"Work Without Hope" is a sonnet written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1825. The sonnet is reflective of the poet's own life in which he struggled with despair and failure. The poem talks about how living life without hope, without an object, or a point is not possible, there will be no motivation or desire to struggle to survive.
“WORK WITHOUT HOPE draws nectar in a sieve/And HOPE without an OBJECT cannot live” ends Coleridge’s poem and summarizes the overall point. Drawing nectar, the sugary-sweet juice of poetic fame, through a sieve is impossible, as is performing any work without hope."
Rukmani's life is full of hardship and struggle, loss and disappointment. She struggles to survive in spite of being pushed to the edge of despair facing the most difficult circumstances that threaten her existence.
She strives to make a decent life for herself and for her family even though at times she does not understand the adversity and change that thrusts itself into her life.
One event that demonstrates the truth about the quote above is the birth of Rukmani's first son. Before this event, Rukmani had lamented her inability to bear sons for her husband, Nathan. After Rukmani puts her fate in Kenny's hands, or rather, in the hands of western medicine, she bears five sons for Nathan (Arjun, Thambi, Murugan, Raja, and Selvam). Rukmani's experience with western fertility treatments gives her hope; she also learns that there are sincere westerners who will work tirelessly to improve the lives of her people. This knowledge increases her confidence in her ability to transcend the difficult hand life has dealt her. Rukmani is able to succeed in her goal of having more sons because she chooses to place her hope in western medicine: without hope, it is impossible to succeed.
Another event that demonstrates the truth of the quote is the monsoon storm that devastates much of Rukmani's village. After the storm, Rukmani and her fellow villagers discover that the paddy fields have been ruined and the rice crops destroyed. Many huts have also been demolished due to the strength of the storm. Despite this setback, Rukmani works with her husband to rebuild their lives. She is encouraged in all her efforts by the hope that the people of her land are stronger and more resilient than any tropical storm. It is this hope that inspires much of Rukmani's success in life. For Rukmani, hope is an incentive to work toward her goal of self-reliance.
Yet another event that demonstrates the truth of the quote is the drought that almost ruins Rukmani and her family's chances of survival. The drought is a terrible one, and the crops die. After the rains return, Rukmani and Nathan plant the few seeds they have. They wait hopefully, but in the meantime, their store of provisions continues to run low. Meanwhile, Kunthi blackmails both Rukmani and Nathan, taking even more of the beleaguered family's remaining provisions. It is eventually revealed that Nathan is the father of two of Kunthi's sons.
Despite the devastating setbacks, Rukmani continues to press on; determined to survive and refusing to give up on the land that has always nourished her family, Rukmani sets to work to find other sources of food. In the ensuing days, she, Nathan, and their sons scour the countryside for any and all sources of food. Eventually, the rains return, and the harvest is ready. Again, Rukmani manages to transcend a difficult trial because of her abiding hope in the land of her forefathers.