Outline with reference to the culture of both stories, how the theme of loss is reflected in Veronica and A Stench Of Kerosene Veronica is a story which is set in a native village presumably in Africa, it is about a girl called Veronica who grows up from being a little child into a women with her life limited to very few opportunities due to her fatalism. Veronica has a life of pain with her dying many symbolic deaths. The story Veronica carries many traditions that you would expect from a village lifestyle, the village itself is as you would expect, with stronger beliefs of traditions in the people, than there would be in a city or town.
As a child, due to these traditions, education is a loss In Veronica’s life this is shown in the fact that Veronica is not allowed to make the choice of going ahead with an education simply because she is a girl and has the burden of looking after her family fallen on her shoulders due to her being the eldest, she knows this because when asked by Okeke to come with him to the city, she replies, “I can’t just leave my family” This shows you that she has accepted that she has to listen to her parents and follow their cultural beliefs. These cultural believes are changed depending on the person being a man or a women as shown in Veronica in the fact that Okeke is aloud to have the choice of an education. This is a sign of the culture in the village in where the story of Veronica is set and how it doesn’t differ from traditional African villages in where the man is the one normally the one who gets the chance of an education.
When Okeke leaves veronica to go to the city, she loses a friend, who had always cared for her and always tried to persuade her to make something of her self, he said to her “Why don’t you get out of this place?” This shows that he cares for her and believes that the village has nothing to offer her if she wants to move forwards in her life, even when she replies to him that she has no education he still shows unwillingness to give up because he wants her to widen her choices in life. This gives you an idea in what she was to lose in Okeke, good friend that she could always talk to despite her troubles.
A very big loss in her life is the death of her parents, this is one of her sad life’s low points as she never had much other than her mum and dad that she had cared for, this is one symbolic death that weakens her and she is saddened more because her brothers and sisters that she spent most of her life caring for moved on, getting on with their life’s leaving her lonely. Veronica as a woman was still bound by the cycle of poverty. This is shown because when finding a man nearly dead “he was half dead”, she takes care of him showing that she cares for others before herself. When asked by the man if she would marry him she, Veronica says yes mainly due to the fact that she is lonely, “I was lonely here at the time” This shows she is lonely and gives you a sign of her dream, to have kids and a family, which any respectable women would dream.
Veronica marrying a man from another tribe is very unusual, she says “He is not of our people” This is unusual because traditionally in the culture where the story of Veronica is set you it is not allowed that you get married to someone from a different tribe. When Veronica does finally for fill her dream of having a child she is extremely pleased, she says to Okeke, “God has blessed us with a child” This gives you an idea of how pleased she is because it is a sign of her culture that you as a women have a family and a husband that you could be proud of.
Veronica is distraught when her husband and baby die, she says “My husband is dead and so is my child” This is a big loss in her life because they were all she had left that she cared for this is another of symbolic deaths that she dies that weakens her from inside. So that is the reason when dying she is dying she does not make an attempt to save her self, she says, “I won’t live to see tomorrow and nor do I want to” This shows her unwillingness to live because she thinks there’s no reason for her because she has no one that cares for her any more. The death of Veronica is a big loss for Okeke who loved her, which was different from the story Country Lovers in which the two characters were in love rather than love. He could not turn his love into marriage because I believe he knew his parents would not allow him to marry Veronica, as they believed that she was not the right type for him because she was of a lower class this showed a sign of their culture.
The story A Stench Of Kerosene is set in an Asian village probably in India because there are places like Chamba and words like dappatta, chaspoy and chillum mentioned. It is about a husband and wife Manak and Guleri. When Guleri leaves her in law house to go home, Manak is forced by his mother to get married again because Guleri after seven years of marriage has not given birth to a child. Manak does get married and has a kid with his new wife as his mother had granted, after hearing of Manak’s new wife Guleri soaks her clothes in kerosene and sets her self on fire.
The story A Stench Of Kerosene also carries many traditions you would expect in a village lifestyle. Cultural traditions are shown because the man in the family is the on who goes out to do the work, Manak is a farmer and Guleri being the wife stays with her in-law family and is the one who would do most of the work in the house giving her mother in-law some rest. In A Stench Of Kerosene there is loss shown because Manak loses his wife Guleri, he was “Mute with pain” This suggests how much pain he is feeling after the death of his wife. He also loses his love because he does not love his new wife as he did Guleri, Manak feels, “His body responded but his heart was dead with in him” This gives you an idea of how much he loved Guleri and how little he feels for his new wife.
There is a sign of the culture in A Stench Of Kerosene because of the tradition of arrange marriages in the village lifestyle. The story is also unusual because traditionally the man in the family is the dominant one but in A Stench Of Kerosene, Manak’s mother makes the decisions for him or is it just that he is being loyal to his mother. This differs from normal village lifestyles. The theme of loss is reflected in many ways and is affected by the cultural backgrounds in both Veronica and A Stench Of Kerosene. In the story Veronica, Veronica is limited to very few opportunities because she is held back by cultural reasons. In the story A Stench Of Kerosene Mank because of cultural reasons is forced to remarry and lose the love of his life in Guleri.