Girls Burn Brighter

by Shobha Rao
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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 373

Girls Burn Brighter is a 2018 novel written by Shobha Rao. This novel is about two young girls and their lives that are full of violence, abuse, and gender shaming.

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There are several characters in the novel Girls Burn Brighter, but the main characters are Poornima and Savitha.

Poornima is a young girl who is from a poor family in India. When she was just a small child, she learned how little her father valued her life when she almost fell into a river. She overheard her father telling her mother that all it would take to get rid of her is "one little push" into the river. Poornima is not hopeful and often upsets her father by refusing to obey men. She is expected to care for her family and spends her days dreaming of a better life.

Savitha is another young girl who is also from an extremely poor family in India. She meets Poornima when she goes to work a sari loom for Poornima's father. Despite her circumstances, Savitha constantly has a positive outlook on life. She can easily find beauty in all things, especially yogurt rice and bananas. Savitha is a true friend to Poornima and makes life better. Life is not kind to Savitha and a terrible event scars her and takes her innocence quickly away. Savitha rebels by leaving the village in search for a better life. Unfortunately, this is not what she finds.

Some of the other characters include Poornima's father, Kishore (Poornima's abusive husband), and the human traffickers the girls encounter.

Poornima's father is an unkind man who dislikes his daughter mainly for the fact that she was born a girl. He is degrading and does not value women at all, which he proves in an interaction with Savitha.

Kishore is Poornima's husband who has a deformed hand. He is another abusive male who forces Poornima to submit to him with sexual favors. When she tries to stand up for herself, he scars her by throwing hot oil at her face.

The various human traffickers that the girls encounter are also abusive and degrading men with the exception of one, named Mohan, who falls in love with Savitha and helps Poornima try to find her friend.

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