‘Sold’ by Patricia McCormick Essay
‘Sold’ by Patricia McCormick
1. Brief summary of novel- The novel Sold tells the story of a girl named Lakshmi from Nepal, who is sold into sexual slavery in India.When the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family’s crops, Lakshmi’s stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family. She is then introduced to a charming stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid working for a wealthy woman in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi undertakes the long journey to India and arrives at the “Happiness House” full of hope. But she soon learns the horrible truth: she has been sold into prostitution, and trapped there until she can pay off her family’s debt – later to find out she’s been cheated of her meager earnings so that she can never leave. This novel is written in series of short, vignette-style chapters, from the point of view of the main character
Is the author qualified to write knowledgeably about this culture? Why or why not? To research for Sold, author Patricia McCormick traveled and interviewed people who had experienced the “system” of sexual slavery. This system has “native girls believing they are going to get jobs,” when really they end up “in brothels with no way to escape.” To observe more about the system and interview the people in it, McCormick traveled to “a shelter in Kathmandu” and a village in the Himalayas.McCormick based the village Lakshmi lives on those she traveled to.
She also spoke with girls and women in Calcutta’s red-light district, where she learned about the many horrors of the system from two teenage girls who had escaped it. McCormick explained that “part of them became Lakshmi.” McCormick also spoke with those who sold the girls into the system for profit. When she interviewed one man who was in prison for selling his fiancee, McCormick says, “He told me, without a trace of embarrassment, he wanted a motorcycle . . . He was utterly unconcerned about his fate; he knew he would get off in court.”
What did you learn about this culture from reading this novel?
Many people go into the sex work field or are forced to in hopes of finding a better opportunity for their families and for themselves. This is especially true in Nepal, which is ranked as one of the countries with the lowest human development indicators in the world, they feel as though sex work is the only opportunity that they truly have to better their lives and that of their families.Most victims were lured with promises of better jobs in areas such as India, Dubai, or Saudi Arabia; other tactics include false marriages and proposals, force, and approaching indebted families to sell their daughters to pay their debts, sometimes under the guise of a dowry for a marriage.
The most vulnerable are women and girls who are illiterate or uneducated, involved in marginalized livelihoods, deserted by their husbands or families, victims of abuse and violence, and those from disadvantaged communities and extremely poor families. Nepal is mainly a source country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Around 1.2 million victims of trafficking are minors. Nepali victims are trafficked within Nepal, to India, the Middle East, and forced to become prostitutes, domestic servants, beggars, child soldiers, and others. This is particularly rampant within Nepal and to India, with as many as 5,000-10,000 women and girls trafficked to India alone each year. And women are very inferior to men and cater to the mens’ every need and are tricked, manipulated and treated harshly by society and in their culture.
Does the novel portray or negate any traditional or contemporary stereotypes that have developed around this culture? Which ones? Yes, that:
Women are inferior to men.
Women and girls are manipulated or forced into slavery. Women and girls are sold.
Men see no value in women or girls other than providing food and money for your pleasure
Address any prejudices that the characters faced in this novel. *Gender: women (that they’re worthless because they are girls) *Age: the sex slaves tried to look young for the men
*Language:Lakshmi couldn’t talk or shed be taken advantage of *Lakshimi’s belief of women’s requirement of modesty
Explain how this story made you feel as you read it. Did you feel more open-minded or gain a better understanding of this culture as you read? This book made me sad as i read it. I started understanding how awful things can be in other countries and how different cultures have different morals and values. Also how some people are willing to do whatever is necessary to help and support their families.I felt her emotions as I read through this book and I must say that I was sad when I finished it. I can’t really relate to her on the same levels but I can say that I would rather die a thousand deaths than to ever ever be in her position. This book opened my eyes to what is out there and what people are really and truly like, it is one of the most sad and disturbing books i have ever read
Discuss some similarities and differences between your own culture and this culture. Differences:
* In America, one can marry as they wish when they wish and to whom they wish. In India, the family chooses the mate for their child, which is called an arranged marriage.In most cases, the bride and groom do not even talk to each other until after they are married.
* The average age to marry in America is: for females it is 24 years of age, and for males it is 26 years of age. The average age to marry in India is: females it is 16 years of age and for males it is 21 years of age
Some of the religions in America are: Christianity,Protestant,Roman Catholic, Mormon, Buddhist, Jewish, and Muslim. Some of the religions in India are: Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism, and Hinduism
*Both countries are democracies. They both were British colonies before their independence.
*In both these countries there was the same form of harsh racism against the lower classes of the society
8.Is there any evidence in this novel that this culture has had any influence on your own culture? no, India’s culture in the novel is very different from American culture.
Does the author try to elevate this culture over other cultures through this story? No,this story talks very poorly about india and how most are in poverty and families have to sell their daughters to pay off their debt. It actually shows how other cultures are better and more civil than India’s.
10. Would you recommend this novel to a friend? Why or why not? Absolutely, this was amazing book with a heartbreaking story. Sold, truly puts life into perspective when placed in the shoes of a 13 year old girl sold into sexual slavery by her own family. After reading a while i became addicted. I fell in and out of this story and that is what i am looking for in a book. I would recommend this book to all girls and maybe some guys.