Write about "Dhowli" by Mahasweta Devi and "Kite Streamers” by Wang Meng using.
Theme of Love in Dhowli by Mahasweta Devi
A human being life is a truly inexhaustible foundation of stories and tales. There is always a sense of one tale being more striking than the other. Even when the stories approach a single theme, there is always a variation in one way or the other. Authors tend to pass the ideas from different points of views hence bringing disparities in the stories. This drives the characters to diverse emotions hence the launch of an influence on the nature of the stories and tales. This is exactly the same in the case of Dhowli by Mahasweta Devi and Kite Streamers by Wang Meng. Both stories tend to be strongly emotional and reveal the kind of struggles and frustrations encountered in social conditions. The main intent of this paper is to compare and contrast themes that cut across Dhowli and Kite Streamers stories.
The main concern in this paper is on the themes of love, poverty, and death.
A theme of Love in Dhowli by Mahasweta Devi. Dhowli itself is a terrible love story concerning the son of the Brahman, the landlord, and the untouchable widow Dusad girl (Dhowli). The relationship between this two characters was prohibited, but they decided to overcome the social and cultural barriers just to be together. Dhowli understands that her social condition cannot be overcome, but she is optimistic for a fruitful relationship beyond the social castes (Mahasweta, pp. 12-17). The caste system calls for its member to make love and intermarry within their caste. Any violation of this attracted excommunication from the family and the caste. This is the price that Dhowli had to pay in the pursuit of love (Mahasweta, p. 19). Their love finally bore a child but due to the social caste Brahmans neglected Dhowli. This becomes a burden for Dhowli since the child needs to be fed. In the end, this has become her weakness and strength as well as motivation to continue with life as a prostitute.
The Kite streamer on the other hand also expresses the theme of love through the characters Fan Susu and Jiayuan. The two characters are seen in the story busy working in their places of works. Both characters live in the city of Beijing (Meng, pp.8-13). Susu is a waitress at a Muslim Canteen whereas Jiayuan has been recently hired to repair umbrellas. The two falls in love but have no place to meet or rather a place to stay with each other having in mind that the city is very crowded everywhere. Jiayuan demonstrates to Susu that humans should be more than just the jobs they do. A hail storm comes through the city and the two lovebirds go to the top floor where they are finally and happy (Meng, pp.15-17). They face accusations of being thieves, but they got a rescue from a former Susu classmate. At the end of the story, they are seen kissing and being happy even if they do not have a place to live
Theme of Love in Kite Streamers by Wang Meng
A second theme that cut across two stories is Poverty. In Dhowli story, Dhowli totally perceives her poverty in the context of the wealth and richness of the people that she and her mother work for. Dhowli's father, in particular, had been a land labourer throughout his lifetime and he was enforced by his situation to get a loan from the Brahman for him to be able to marry his daughter (Mahasweta, p.23). That made him work until his death to repay the loan. After his death, his daughter (Dhowli) and wife relied on the landlords for labour and food leftovers. In essence, Dhowli's poverty is contextual and span through the time. Dhowli being a young girl as she was had to survive on picking fruits from the ground and showing them to the landlady for approval to have the home.
Poverty in the Kite Streamers by Wang Meng can also be expressed through the lives of the two main characters Jiayuan and Susu (Meng, p. 43). The two characters’ mode of living and life standards expresses the theme of poverty effectively. Despite living in the city of Beijing, they did not have a place to live. Susu is a waitress in a Muslim Canteen, but she is paid peanut such that she is not able to even get a place on her own. Jiayuan is unemployed, but finally, he got a job to repair umbrellas. Beijing city is represented in the story as being very crowded with too many people. Overcrowding of people is directly linked to poverty. Fan Susu and Jiayuan are seen in the story struggling to get a place to meet so that they can express affection for each other. Their love was, however, successively even if they are in extreme poverty.
Finally, the third theme that cut across both stories is Death. In Dhowli, the death concept is encountered in the cases of Dhowli’s hubby and the demise of her father. Both deaths have affected her entire life in the whole story. Her father death left her family in slavery in the hands of the untouchable, Brahman. The death of her husbands, on the other hand, creates a vacuum in her life and she developed a desire to look for another love. This led her to prostitution as a result of the hostile community and excommunication that she faced as a result of going against the Castes system in the society. Another case of death in Dhowli is the constant threat to her life, child and her mother through the starvations. This could easily lead to the death in broader view.
Theme of Poverty in Dhowli by Mahasweta Devi
Death in the Kate Streamers by Wang Meng is expressed through the deaths of Mao Zedong. And his grandmother. Mao Zedong is a communisms who at the beginning of the story is pictured being very strong in his leader's role. His health depreciated over the time leading to incapability in the execution of his roles. This in return causes a major fail in the communism in Beijing. Failed communism in the story is attributed to failed potential, the red dream turns to black and depreciation and the death of Mao. Both Mao and his grandmother were determined to go to graduate school but death cut their dreams short.
Comparing the theme of love in both stories, much can be drawn from the stories. Both stories cover the theme extensively the way it should be. However, love ends in different angle as dictated by settings and characters' roles in the tales. The first story, Dhowli, express love in a tragic way. Dhowli in her entire life searches for love and affection that she has been missing. This search for love and desire for a good life made her becomes a casualty of her own disillusion. The love betrayed Dhowli at the end of the story. Because of the love aspect, in this case, she is seen being an outcast to her family and in her own community. Kite Streamers, on the other hand, expresses love from an optimistic angle. Jiayuan and Fan Susu are seen falling in love despite their circumstances. Their love, in this case, knows no boundary, even poverty, lack of a place to live or social status is not enough to keep them from loving each other. At the end of the story, they are seen loving and kissing each other even if they did not have a place to live.
Poverty in both stories is expressed in the different setting. In Dhowli, poverty is contextual and is seen right from the start of the story until the end. Dhowli family, that is her father, mother and baby are seen struggling to live in extreme poverty. Poverty in the Dhowli text is evident through the comparison of richness and the poor. Poverty in this regard is as a result of the oppression of the poor by the rich. It may also be linked to bad cultural systems such as caste condition. Focusing on the other hand, poverty in Kite streamer is not very extreme. It is encountered in the case of Juan and Susu. In this context, poverty did not hinder the main character's main intent. Despite poverty, they were still able to love and marry each other. The theme of poverty in Kite streamers is entirely as a result of poor governance by the leadership and not like in the Dhowli which is as a result, cultural systems.
Theme of Poverty in Kite Streamers by Wang Meng
In both texts, death has certain effects on the characters in the story. In Dhowli, death itself is seen as being omnipresent and also it materializes in many instances. This includes the death of Dhowli's husband and her father. These deaths affect the remaining characters and the whole story setting. They completely affect the course of her next life. This is not the case in Kate streamers. The deaths of Mao Zedong do not affect the main character extensively (Meng, p.41). Death in this story has less significant effects as compared to the theme of Death in Dhowli. A clear distinction can be drawn from the way the two stories handle the theme of death. The theme has many significant effects on one story whereas it has little effects on the other (Cappelli & Louisa, p.138).
A lot of lessons can be learnt from the theme of love in both stories. First, from the story Kites streamers, love should be unconditional (Sen, p. 123). From the same story, it is vividly clear that love should not be formed on the foundation of materialistic things like wealth and riches (Yook, p. 38). Both Fan Susu and Jiayuan fall in love despite their condition of poverty (Meng, p.45) Learning from the Dhowli story, an outspoken lesson is that the human being should know their limits when it comes to love and affection (Leavy &Patricia, p.31). People should choose their spouses wisely respecting the cultural rules and guidelines in the society. It is also very clear how rigid and old cultural values can stop somebody dream to love (Antell, p.18). The system and poor culture finally end her love choice.
The theme of poverty in both text also has a number of lessons that can be drawn from the way the theme is manipulated in the stories. To begin with, the story of Kite streamers teaches a lesson that poverty should not determine the human being destiny (Ray & Thomas, p.14). Poverty should not be the main barrier to achieve the main human being intentions and goals (Rangarajan &Swarnalatha, p. 12). Poverty in this story did not hinder the two lover birds from loving and marrying each other. Finally, Dhowli's love was indeed blind. She is going against the social norms and fall in love with a person outside her caste system (Lai & Chi, p.34). She understands the consequences of her actions but she still went ahead. This has invited many problems in her life such as discrimination and excommunication from her friends and family. She has to bear this pain throughout her life.
Theme of Death in Dhowli by Mahasweta Devi
Finally, death as the main theme in both texts teaches a number of lessons. First, death as a natural occurrence should not leave a huge burden on the immediate family members that are left behind (Johnson, p 509). The lives of human beings should be respected (Grescoe, pp. 19-23). The theme of death is seen affecting the Dhowli and her family to an extent that their lives became miserable after the deaths of loved ones (Solomon, p. 217). Another lesson from themes in both stories is the need for preparations for deaths in the family (Cao et al. p 45). Death is not supposed to cause an economic burden on the lives of the family left behind (Talukdar, p.34).
In conclusion, however much the stories may appear to be the same, there will always a difference in the way the characters interacts, settings and expressions of different themes in the stories. Dhowli and Kite streamers are two different stories, the first one is from India and the second one is from China. The story has different settings, different characters and ideas. However, much the differences, they share the same themes to express different ideas in different settings. Love, poverty and death are the three major themes shared in the two stories.
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