A Stench of Kerosene
With Close Reference to the Following Short Stories: ‘The Train from Rhodesia’ by Nadine Gordimer, ‘The Young Couple’ by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and ‘A Stench of Kerosene’ by Amrita Pritam, Show How the Relationship of the Married Couples are Affected by Cultural Experiences. Explore How the Writers Use Language to Convey the Cultural Impact ‘The Train from Rhodesia’, by Nadine Gordimer, ‘The Young Couple’, by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and ‘A Stench of Kerosene’, by Amrita Pritam, are all short stories, affected by culture.
‘The Train from Rhodesia’ is a story of guilt and how culture can affect different people, however, ‘The Young Couple’ is an insight of how culture can affect people differently. ‘A Stench of Kerosene’ demonstrates how people can be put under pressure by culture. These three stories have many similar qualities and many different perspectives. ‘The Young Couple’ is a story that starts with the two main characters, Cathy and Naraian, moving to Naraian’s home country.
The story does not reveal much about the couple’s relationship initially. The story begins after the couple are married and it is obvious how happy they are. In the beginning, the couple seem completely satisfied with each other and with life, “Cathy was thrilled to be going back to India with Naraian, her new husband. ” However, the story concludes with neither being satisfactory. At first the experience is new and exciting, “They had many ideas about what Naraian could do for his country once he got back there.
” It soon becomes repetitive and too different from home, for Cathy, as Naraian’s family gradually take over their relationship; smothering the couple’s independence. “She felt herself lapped around and drowning in more love than she had ever before” This becomes extremely problematic for Cathy and Naraian. They both travelled to India looking for a fresh start together. However, it is soon apparent that Naraian is being less independent; keeping his career in the family business, renting a house from the family.
Cathy is still focused on a new beginning but Naraian loses sight if his goals and almost gives in to his family by becoming more reliant on them; which is what they intended. Since Cathy’s move to India life has probably not changed for Naraian so he fails to see her perspective and because of this Cathy and Naraian do not discuss the situation, which leads to Cathy feeling miserable and Naraian, almost completely oblivious to the situation. This is the first part in the story where we see the couple have a different idea of independence due to their varying backgrounds.
Cathy was brought up in a western country where there was encouragement to grow up, get married and have children, however as Naraian lives in an eastern country, where millions of people are dedicated to religion, views are more based on those suggested in the religion, where growing up, getting married and having children is not a guideline; it is tradition. The story ends disappointingly for the reader. The ending corresponds to ‘A Stench of Kerosene’ and ‘The Train from Rhodesia’ where the characters’ lives continue, unhappily, after the ending with no particularly obvious climax, to finish.
‘The Young Couple’ is similar to the other stories, as they all involve a young couple adjusting to culture and elements of that culture are forcing them apart. ‘The Train from Rhodesia’ has the simplest plot out of the three stories but it still has the same value when looked at closely. It features a young couple passing through a station, after a holiday, and their experience there. The woman, one of the main characters in the story, is struck by a carving she claims will be “too expensive, too much”.
As a result of this, her partner bargains with the artist to get it for a low price, although the original price was incredibly low, this shows he may be slightly insensitive and unobservant. The woman, however, is really affected by her husband’s actions and feels that he has violated the artist’s work. She has an epiphany, a sudden realization, that makes her disgusted by her husband’s behavior and she can’t believe his insensitivity, as a result she feels extremely guilty, as if she has to on his behalf. “The heat of shame mounted through her legs and body… ” Her partner does not share nor understand her view.