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Stench of Kerosene by Amrita Pritam


Guleri is the Wife of Manak, she is in love with Manak, and they been married over 7 years, she is unable too have children with Manak, and this leads too a consequence of Guleri´s suicide, The reasons for her actions are that, she feels shes not fulfilling the duty of a wife. In terms of expanding the family three. Guleri makes a choice by committing suicide, when she finds out that Manak was forced too find a different wife.

She keeps Manaks flute under her Dupatta, which allways reminds her of him, and his love to her,

Outer / inner Characterization

Outer- There is not told about her apprentice, except a “Dupatta” which is a cloth, that indie girls wear for different accessions.

  • Silver rings
  • Inner- Very happy, homesick, proud, very happy for “Mare” True love,


Guleri, develops a lot of feelings for Manak, so strong that it ends in a tragic event. Her obsession is stronger then life it´s self.

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Her love for Manak is stronger the the lifeforce its self.

Manak Guleri´s Husband


Manak, is the husband too Guleri, hes been married too her for seven years, He has a responsibility, in the family to move their generation , and his mother is aware of that they have been together for many years, and still there has not been any progress in making a baby, which results in Guleri´s death.

Outer/inner Characterization

Outer- none

Inner- Nervous, Afraid , lost in thoughts,Respect for family “mother” Daydreamer Submissive role, passive,emotional


Manak develop his own true feelings, when the newborn baby that was place on his lap, all hes feels, ends in chaos, as he releases his true feeling in his heart for Guleri by yelling and screaming “take him away he smells of Kerosene” in the end, he dosent really develop himself in a positive way but in a negative in the truth in his heart for Guleri love that been lost forever.

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Bhavani Manak´s friend


Bhavani is a friend of Manak and brings the message about Guleri´s death, this news, brings a lot of pain into Manak´s heart and soul. Manak and Bhavani, has a history together since, they knew each other from past “the fair” which comes every seven years,Bhavani, and Manak have a very close relationship as friends, since he has a flute, like Manak does.

Outer/inner Characterization

  • Outer-Small bundle on his shoulder/flute, Haunches
  • Inner- Feeling uneasy, unsure, feeling bad,

Manak´s Mother


The mother has full control over Manak and controls him, she is ashamed of the fact that Guleri is destitute of offspring and she seek a wife for him, that can bear her child by paying for it, she forgets about his feelings.

  • Outer/inner Characterizations
  • Outer-none
  • Inner-Demanding, Cold hearted., careless
  • Settings and Time
  • Physical setting

The event occurs in small village called Lakarmandi that is located outside Chamaba which is in india, The village that Gulerí lives in is on a high ground, and there is a road that curves and decends, steeply downhill. And from that point you can see Chamba. The stores takes part different place outside Chamba, realistic or unrealistic environment the events that take place in this story are all realistic.

Environment details

There are a lot of mountains, in this area, many steep curves and slopes, small villages around.


It gives you the impression of that, they people live in a very hot, place, since india is a very tropical and hot environment.

Characters influenced by the environment

Guleri´s parents, live in Chamba that shows, they are city people, Manak and Guleri live outside the city of Chamba in a small village. This shows that when young people get married in India, they get to live in some small hut outside the city, where they have too take care of them self s. Just like husband and wife.

Social Setting

Guleri´s parents are part of the middel / upperclass, people, It seems like parents who choose their children marriage, are about the same middle / upper-class people and when the ceremony is done, they “happy” married couple are being downgraded into living in a low/middle class environment. Where they are forced too live as husband and wife, with a task that is demand, and this task is having a baby.


The story its self progress its self trough out 2 days, where Manak´s friend comes by, and the next days he tell the bad news too him. But they story all so, tell´s us that about long past, 7 years back, we get a window into the past of a married couple. In other words, we get a lot of history about this couple until present day, and the happening of a tragic event.

Narrator / Point of view

The story is being switched between, 3´rd person and 1´person, there is a story teller, and we get into the characters as they intact with each other trough out the story, and then we get back too the 3´rd person. There’s a bit of a mix, and a little bit of omniscient in the story teller.

The main character of the story is Manak, since he is the one who gets influenced, trough out the whole story by all the people around him, Gureli has a important part in this story, since she the one who affects Manak the most in the end.

Composition / Plot


Stench of Kerosene, 1965

The Title indicates, a very strong symbol of that very tragic and dramatic event can occur in point´s of a woman’s/girls life or in the matter of fact, everyone’s life, when people get into a point where there is no turning back, that means, “point of no return” it can lead into a very horrific scenario, with actuality this title shows, we see it in the news, and we see it happen on TV, people setting them self on fire for reasons of desperate and urgent, matters, like no food, no work. We seen examples of this happening with the monks, in Thailand, in different protests. So this title shows us the final choice of a man or woman that he or she smells, before ending life.

The structure of the story


In the beginning, its seems like Gurleri and Manak are living a happy life together, everything is the way its supposed to be, but somewhere in their relationship there is a dark hole, that cannot be closed, and this hole, is the baby that did not happen in the 7 years, they was together, as time goes by, and time runs out, the story starts too approach, a path, that is descended to happen, I think Manak, somewhere down deep in his heart, know this already, and that’s why hes being a bit, scared of the consequences, what might happen, in this point of time in the story, we start too enter the final stage where, he meets his friend, and he tell him the news, and thats when we hit the point of no return, the end of the story is tragic ends with a very dramatic climax, that not only affects us emotionally but , it gives us a picture of how some parts of the world, are sent in rules that cannot be changed or broken.


The text uses lots of term that are not used in today’s English , there are also a lots of indie, words, for their clothing. There is a symbol, in the text that is being repeated, its a flute, that Gureli has hidden beneath her clothing’s, and she gives it too Manak, and Manak´s friend has one too, that he play with at the fair.

Theme Message

I think this story very well illustrates the complexity of a family life, love and guilt. Manak feels guilty for having a baby with the new woman because he loves Guleri immensely. By accepting (though reluctantly) his mother’s wishes, he fails not only himself, but also Guleri and the phenomena of love. I think, sadly, that this story is a great story, it enlightens us, some people are in fact being treated with these dilemmas and harsh conditions, which we, in the West, think of as unthinkable – they happen every day – every single hour.

Cite this page

Stench of Kerosene by Amrita Pritam. (2016, Jun 09). Retrieved from

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