Topics for Discussion

1. Do you think that Arjun and Thambi made the correct decision when they decided not to become farmers like their father and instead went to work at the tannery? Why or why not?

2. Why do you think Kenny becomes angry with Rukmani and speaks harshly to her? Do you think he sees her as weak or strong?

3. Do you think Rukmani was correct in seeking medical help without her husband’s knowledge?

4. What does the title Nectar in a Sieve mean to you?

5. Do you think that Markandaya presents Western values as materialistic?

6. Which Characters in the novel were looked down upon and for what reasons? What does this say about the values of typical south Indian villagers?

7. What is the significance of Rukmani’s encounter with the cobra?

8. Contrast Rukmani with Kunthi. How do their values and attitudes differ?

9. Many Westerners interpret Rukmani’s submissiveness as weakness. Decide whether you think Rukmani is weak or strong and write a persuasive paper explaining your position.