Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 12 : 6 June 2012
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.
Assistant Managing Editor: Swarna Thirumalai, M.A.


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Copyright © 2012
M. S. Thirumalai

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Ravi as the Representative of Misguided and Disenchanted Modern Youth in a Morally Degraded Society in Kamala Markandaya’s A Handful of Rice

C. Karthikeyan, M.A., M.Phil.
S. Gunasekaran, Ph.D.

Kamala Markandaya shares a place of considerable importance among the women novelists of Indian English Literature. She wrote ten novels that focus on a variety of themes. She occupies a unique position because of her pragmatic portrayal of the society in general and the pathetic plight of the individuals in particular. East-west encounter, poverty and unemployment, the problem of conscience, the tug-of-war between traditional values and modern life, inconsistency between religion and science, clash of values, the problem of hunger and starvation etc. are some of her well-known themes. She realistically brings out how the youth undergo terrible mental agony in a Godless society devoid of all values. Though written four decades ago, the problems she discussed in the novels are not only on the increase but also have become the order of the day. Unemployment, hunger and starvation, exploitation, disillusionment, frustration, crime and violence are some of the problems that haunt the modern youth community.

A Handful of Rice

The novel A Handful of Rice brings to light the problems of urban India and the tragic plight of modern Indian youth. The youth are tossed by social injustice which makes them takes shelter in unwanted activities. The present modern society, instead of protecting and educating the youth, misleads the youth in the form of sense pleasures. Having misled by the society, the disillusioned youth of today try their level best to squeeze out sugarcane juice from the bamboo stick. Though bamboo stick resembles sugarcane, it is not sugarcane. Similarly the society, without providing employment and other opportunities to the deserving youth, renders them jobless and makes them refugees in their own homeland. After graduating from colleges and universities, they have to hunt for jobs and ultimately in their vain search for jobs they become frustrated. The youth dream of a luxurious lifestyle and the society impels them to think that it is the prime objective of life. Modern society makes the youth turn away from God by its flickering beauty of sensual pleasures and this has paved the way for misuse of intelligence. They undergo severe mental anguish because the Godless society in which they live does not show them the proper direction to march forward. They blindly imitate the West and ignore their age old traditional life and customs. They migrate to cities from villages with the strong hope of settling in life, but the cities can only offer them despair and disappointment.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

C. Karthikeyan, M.A., M.Phil.
(Research Scholar, Anna University of Technology, Madurai)
Associate Professor
Department of English
RVS College of Engineering & Technology

S. Gunasekaran, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Head
Department of English
Anna University of Technology
Madurai Dindigul Campus

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