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Island of a Thousand Mirrors
A stunning literary debut set during the Sri Lankan Civil War
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Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

Created: 09/12/14

Replies: 16

Posted Sep. 12, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1318

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Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

The scene of Saraswathie's rape is extremely traumatic and Munaweera has admitted that it was quite difficult for her to write. Why do you think the scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?


Posted Sep. 15, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Retired Reader, NE

Join Date: 09/16/11

Posts: 165

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RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

When dealing with this subject matter, the rape scene needs to be included. Even in fiction the reader wants events that are close to real life.


Posted Sep. 15, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 183

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RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

The rape needed to be included because it was the motivation and turning point for Saraswathie, it showed her strength because she survived it and it was horrible enough it allowed her to survive the Tiger training, too.


Posted Sep. 15, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickic

Join Date: 09/15/14

Posts: 22

RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

The rape scene, though horrifying, is crucial to one of the underlying themes of the book, the inferior status of women in Sri Lanka. We see through Saraswathie her initial hope that returning home to Amma the nightmare of the attack will be diminished. Sadly, she sees the response of those who love her restrained by the culture in which they live. She uses the anger and sense of betrayal that are the result of her family's response to gain the strength she needs to move forward.


Posted Sep. 15, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jwbriggs13

Join Date: 05/09/12

Posts: 33

RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

I agree with Retired Reader, Navy Mom, and Vickic that the scene was necessary. Saraswathie uses "that perfect square of sky. . . . High above, a crane passes slowly" again and again to pull herself away from the horrible things that happen to her. The rape, its aftermath, and her response are critical parts of the story. Vickic says it well in her comment above. The detailed description of the rape was necessary because it touches so many themes.


Posted Sep. 15, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jillf

Join Date: 07/30/13

Posts: 19

RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

The rape scene is crucial to the story. It is the night that changes Saraswathie's life forever. It shines a light on how rape is used as a weapon during wartime. How the victims are blamed and shunned by those around them. This happens around the world every day.

It shows why she becomes the warrior that she is and makes the decisions that she does and remains a sympathetic character. The detailed description of that night draws you in and doesn't let go. Without it the experience of the story would be completely different


Posted Sep. 15, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 392

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RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

I also think the rape scene in all its gory detail was crucial to the story not only to set up the circumstances for Saraswathi's rejection by her family, induction to the military and ultimate demise but it is an awful but factual account of what happens in ethnic wars. And since this book is telling the story from the point of view of women in a very sexist, male dominated society, I think it would be almost hypocritical to gloss the rape over. The staying away from too much info in rape scenes in literature goes back to puritanical and Victorian influences and which are historically full of mostly male writers.


Posted Sep. 17, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
asha

Join Date: 05/01/13

Posts: 44

RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

Saraswathi's rape, the rape of the verdant green country side due to the bloody civil war are all symbols of depraved human behavior.

When power corrupts, it does so very aggressively. The Sri Lankan civil war was a time when a seemingly peaceful and ahimsa following Buddhists raped, murdered, pillaged, and otherwise broke all the tenets of their religion.

It was an essential depiction for the story line to progress...

I absolutely loved this novel...and Ms. Munaweera's style.


Posted Sep. 17, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carolf

Join Date: 07/10/14

Posts: 23

RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

The rape scene was needed as it was the turning point for Saraswathi's life. This was largely what made her hardened and brutal in her killings with the Tigers. Also it showed the reality of war and how intimidation and rape are used as weapons.


Posted Sep. 17, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 184

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RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

Reading scenes like this can be extremely difficult. I actually gad to put the book down for awhile. But I do think its necessary since it helps us to try to understand saraswathi s motivations


Posted Sep. 18, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mariannes

Join Date: 12/17/12

Posts: 206

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RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

I think if you're going to tell someone's life story, you have to tell all of it or else it's not accurate. The scene was brutal to read, but it had a brutal effect on Saraswathi and the scene emphasized that.


Posted Sep. 18, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
LeahLovesBooks

Join Date: 04/08/14

Posts: 47

RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

The rape scene is a major turning point in the book.


Posted Sep. 21, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 294

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RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

I thought the rape scene was handed very well. It was not gratuitous sex. I think it captured the emotions of a female, and reality is important. If history is whitewashed then it borders on propaganda.


Posted Sep. 22, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeanettel

Join Date: 01/05/12

Posts: 53

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RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

The rape scene is an integral part of the story of Saraswathi it feeds her hate for the enemy, the Sinhales. Every night when she goes to sleep she relieves the rape in her dreams and her own screams wake her up. The rape drives her every day to becomes more ruthless and blood thirsty for the enemy to pay driving her to the ultimate sacrifice for the cause, a free nation.


Posted Sep. 25, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
deeh

Join Date: 03/03/12

Posts: 158

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RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

Brutality is a fact of life. The rape scene was essential in illustrating the driving force behind Saraswathi's ultimate sacrifice.


Posted Sep. 25, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gin

Join Date: 10/21/12

Posts: 24

RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

The rape scene was painful to read. We knew what was going to happen...Manaweera had prepared the reader for all the events that followed. It seems to me the rape it is a metaphor for all the terrible and inhumane things that take place in war. It also highlights the vulnerability of women in this novel where women have little or any say about what happens with their lives. It is tragic that the rape turns Saraswathi into a part of the war machine.


Posted Oct. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

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RE: Why do you think the rape scene was necessary? Should literature stay away from depicting the most painful events in a character's life?

Rape scene was necessary on many levels. Most important it showed the irrevocable and depth the heinous act caused. It destroyed the bright beautiful young girl to the depths of her soul. Affecting science but necessary and a sad reality of the brutal atrocities of war.


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