Style and Technique
Mukherjee uses the technique of reporting in the story to produce distance between the narrator, Mrs. Bhave, and her surroundings. This conveys the shock and thus the surreal quality of the experience of loss. She also uses stream of consciousness and chains of thought to convey the experience of loss in the narrative, linking seemingly unrelated events or words, such as the women making tea and Mrs. Bhave’s sons making breakfast.
Mukherjee employs juxtaposition as well. One fact or event is placed alongside another, in seeming agreement or concordance, yet the effect of such placement is to pose irreconcilable disagreement between ideas, people, and cultures. An example of this is Kusum describing how modern women are fake because they must declare their love out loud, and then her own daughter Pam coming out into the living room and demonstrating modern and fake as defined by the preceding conversation. A more chilling example is the woman who makes tea; she is pregnant with her fifth child, all sons, and all living.