Topics for Further Study

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  • At the beginning of Nectar in a Sieve, Markandaya offers the following quotation from Samuel Taylor Coleridge: "Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve, / And hope without an object cannot live." What is the significance of this quote to the novel as a whole? How does this quote shed light on the author's concerns, as expressed through the novel? What is the significance of this quote to your own life and your own culture?
  • Learn more about Hinduism, paying special attention to traditional gender roles, rituals, dress, food, social customs, and core beliefs. What events in the novel are consistent with the beliefs and practices of Hinduism? What events demonstrate the importance of religion to the characters? In what ways is religion important to the story?
  • Learn more about British colonization of India and about India's independence in 1947. Draw comparisons and contrasts between America's and India's fight for independence from the British.
  • Nectar in a Sieve describes some of the effects of the clash between industrialization and agriculture. Do some research to learn about India's economy today. What percentage of India's people live in small villages and do agricultural work, and what percentage live in big cities? Is industry moving into small towns, as occurs in the book? Can you find information about continuing clashes between these two sectors of the economy?

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Topics for Discussion


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