Good Advice Is Rarer than Rubies

by Salman Rushdie

Start Free Trial

Why did Rehana feel happy and relieved despite failing to get a visa?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the short story "Good Advice Is Rarer than Rubies" by Salman Rushdie, a young woman who has traveled to the British Consulate to apply for a visa is accosted by a professional advice-giver. He is drawn to her by her beauty. In fact, he usually offers advice on how to more easily obtain visas that is deceptive and fraudulent. With Rehana, though, her loveliness and naiveté compel him to offer genuine help in the form of a forged British passport. She refuses his assistance, rightly assuming that it would be illegal. She goes into the consulate, answers all the questions wrong, and in the end does not obtain the visa. The old man thinks that she will be disappointed, but she is actually relieved.

Rehana is on her way to England to get married to a much older man that she has never met. She is doing it out of a sense of obligation and not because she loves the man. Her parents arranged the marriage when they were still alive, and she feels that she must at least attempt to honor their wishes. After she has tried to get a visa but has been refused by the British government, she is free of the obligation she felt towards her parents. She can go back to the city of Lahore and resume her job caring for three children. It seems that this is what she really prefers to do rather than go to a far country and marry a stranger. That is why she is happy and relieved that she failed to get a visa.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial