Monday, 23 August 2010
Gloria Whelan, the author of a National Book Award winner Homeless Bird, develops a strong heroine who must overcome the traditional life dictated for her by India's tradition of arranged marriages and lower esteem for women.
One of the strengths of Whelan's book is her use of figurative language through similes, metaphors, and symbolism. This is especially important in the references to birds and the title of the book.
Notice in the following quote how Koly uses positive comparisons to describe her father's writing: " I watched as the spoken words were written down to become like caged birds, caught forever by my clever baap" (p.2).
In another place, the author uses comparison with caged animals to reveal koly's feelings of being trappped: "As I lay there in the strange house I felt like a newly caged animal that rushes about looking for the open door that isn't there" (p.24).
When she realizes that the family of her prospective bridegroom is more interested in her dowry than in her, the author uses a simile that foreshadows Koly's future. Now, she thinks, "Was my marriage to be like the buying of a sack of yams in the marketplace?" (p. 13).
In addition to the symbolism found in the book, the author uses references to Indian poetry and mythology to develop the story's style. The poet is identified as Rabindranath Tagor, who lived between 1861 and 1941 and was considered one of India's greatest poet who also wrote plays and stories. In 1913, he received the Nobel Prize for literature.