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Girls Burn Brighter


An extraordinary and heart-rending tale of two girls with all the odds against ...
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Discuss Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao:
How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?

Created: 02/27/19

Replies: 11

Posted Feb. 27, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2101

How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?

How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?


Posted Mar. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 265

RE: How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?

These girls are clearly unimportant in their culture. They are consistently restricted, demeaned, and violated. Their culture does not recognize a right of self-determination on their part, yet they continue to struggle for it, reflecting a universal human desire to direct and control one's own direction in life.


Posted Mar. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 118

RE: How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?

As reflected in the book, the girls are not an important piece of their culture. Basically they are no more important than brood animals. In a patriarchal society there is no self-determination by women. As a reader this was not necessarily eye-opening but definitely disturbing.


Posted Mar. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 265

RE: How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?

Being a girl was not a positive in the Indian culture. The girls/women are basically servants and property to be used and abused at the discretion of those with the power (fathers, husbands, in-laws, pimps, etc.). They don't have the equality or status needed to better their lives. Through the worse of circumstances, they persevered and I admired them for it.


Posted Mar. 06, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggya

Join Date: 06/03/15

Posts: 33

RE: How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?

Girls are clearly 4th class citizens whose only purpose is to serve men. The Indian culture seems to accept them only when able to produce male children. Early on upon reading this book, I wanted to google check if this is still the case in present day India. Although progress has been marginally made, India was ranked the 4th most dangerous country in the world for women. This is very disturbing to me in that India will soon be one of the most populous countries.


Posted Mar. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 373

RE: How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?

The author describes the experience of being a girl in India as very difficult and even dangerous. You can be bought and sold or even killed with it making very little difference. In order to survive a girl must have a sense of determination to keep on going, not to give up, no matter what. The descriptions, while very graphic, were not surprising because I was aware of the different world cultures. I was glad the author brought the story to America, so people become aware of how easy this sex and slave traffic takes place, not just in India.
Girls/woman need self determination in order to survive in this world.


Posted Mar. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
celiap

Join Date: 07/27/17

Posts: 49

RE: How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?

It is an awful experience. I sure am glad I was not born in India. I read in the NYTimes review that the characters feel like prototypes. That the events depicted in this book are old hat. How many books can one read that have women treated as horribly as they are here?

Don't get me wrong, I thought the book well-written. Just thought that the subject matter is past being original or compelling.

Self-determination. Forget about it. Can't be done. Women in India have no control of their own lives at all.


Posted Mar. 13, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 211

RE: How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?

I hear what you are saying, celiap, but as women move forward in the United States there are many countries where they can't. Maybe authors are feeling more empowered to write about this now as women are beginning to speak up and demand change. The risk is in desensitizing ourselves to the violence, abuse, and lack of human rights. I have one friend who has said, "Yeah, I just can't read that. I prefer to believe the world I live is a better place." But unfortunately, it isn't. Until all of us are "free", none of us really are.

33% of women in the U.S. experience abuse. That number is DOUBLE in Mexico. In January alone, 10 women in Mexico were killed EACH day. From January-March 9, 2019, 64 women were killed in El Salvador. This just doesn't happen in India, and I know I could keep going with these statistics.

So much depends on a person's education and economic level. Poor girls, raised in isolation have fewer opportunities to escape and discover themselves. Savitha and Poornima's lives were determined for them from the moment they were born. If only more marginalized individuals could find a friendship like the one these two shared. They still experienced unimaginable horrors, but they knew deep down that they were loved and valued by another. That knowledge empowered them both.


Posted Apr. 01, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JulieAB

Join Date: 07/16/13

Posts: 117

RE: How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?

Women are not considered anything but a servant to the men. You sense that right away with Poornima's father early in the book. He only cares about his needs, and doesn't see that his own daughter wanted love from him. When he rapes Savitha, rather than treat her as the victim, the "punishment" is Poornima's father has to marry Savitha...her own rapist.


Posted Apr. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
amberb

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 96

RE: How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?

It is heartbreaking. So hard to believe that women are still treated this way in this day and age.

What also is disheartening is that the horrors of the past remain, while modern life brings new nightmares of its own. I write this as a 14-year-old girl was murdered this weekend in our community, shot in the head after being lured out into the street at 4 a.m. by a person she considered a friend.

So much suffering. Pointless! It's hard to feel hope, but I do think it is hopeful that women are sharing their stories of trauma. Women need to keep coming together in community and support to make a difference in this world.


Posted Apr. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 211

RE: How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?

Since reading Girls Burn Brighter, I have read A Woman Is No Man. (I think I need a light, fluffy, mindless book next! But I would highly recommend this book!) It deals with the lives of women in Palestine and Palestinian women in the US. One thread in the book is "preserving our culture" (and it is the older women who preach this)--and apparently the culture is preserved by forced marriages, working 24/7 in the home-as a slave to a mother-in-law and your husband, not ever leaving the house alone, having babies until your husband is given a son, and being beaten horrifically by husbands just because they have a bad day. It saddens me to think how many women from other cultures are living like this throughout the United States, never mind in their home countries. What does one do when there is no self-determination for women because of one's culture? How do you make one understand there is a different, better way? How can a woman find the support she needs to thrive and overcome, be a change maker when she is kept in isolation and brutalized by her own family?

In addition, I saw that there is a Netflix series coming about the New Delhi rape case of 2012 (I think 2012). The interviews with the rapists in some of the articles I read as a followup to the release of the series were unimaginable. For every step forward, there are two or three backward.


Posted Apr. 08, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
patty claire

Join Date: 04/05/19

Posts: 20

RE: How is the experience of being a girl portrayed here? Did you find it eye-opening? What does the it imply about self determination?

It is truly unfortunate to be a girl especially of the lower class. Girls do very menial work at home, although they do all the housework and meal preparation they are the last to eat. They are considered an expense as a dowery most be provided to the grooms family. Marriages frequently are arranged when they are still young children.


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