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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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How do the girls' relationships with their fathers shape their childhoods and their worldviews? Do you feel any sympathy or understanding toward Poornima's father?

Created: 02/27/19

Replies: 9

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3216

How do the girls' relationships with their fathers shape their childhoods and their worldviews? Do you feel any sympathy or understanding toward Poornima's father?

Poornima and Saviththa have very different relationships with their fathers. How do those relationships shape their childhoods and their worldviews? Do you feel any sympathy or understanding toward Poornima's father?


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

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 475

RE: How do the girls' relationships with their fathers shape their childhoods and their worldviews? Do you feel any sympathy or understanding toward Poornima's father?

I think of the story Poonima's father told of almost letting her drown as a toddler. As he says, "That's the thing with girls isn't it? Whenever they stand on the edge of something, you can't help it, you can't. you think. Push. That's all it would take. Just one little push."
So he could have easily let her die as he felt she wasn't worth much anyway. Later, when he rapes Savitha, he shows again how little he thinks of girls' women. His daughters were merely an asset to bargain with. Poormina knew she was of little value in her father's house.
Savitha had a better emotional relationship with her father, although he did little to support the family. I think she had received some validation from him which helped give her strength in the trials ahead.


Posted Mar. 05, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 197

RE: How do the girls' relationships with their fathers shape their childhoods and their worldviews? Do you feel any sympathy or understanding toward Poornima's father?

Poornima's father saw girls as expendable as indicated by his inclination to drown her as a child. The value they have to him is for work - weaving, spinning, cooking cleaning - and for sex. Even in marriage, because of the requirement of a dowry, they cause expenses and require money which he doesn't have. Savitha's father seemed to value her more. The reflections she had on her family life is that it was happy once her father stopped drinking.

I had no sympathy or understanding for Poornima's father.


Posted Mar. 05, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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alwaysdaddygirl

Join Date: 09/04/16

Posts: 110

RE: relationships with their fathers shape their childhoods and their worldviews? Do you feel any sympathy or understanding toward Poornima's father?

Poornima's father I did not care what happens to him. Poornima's father destroyed her self worth and destroyed an example of what a man is supposed to be. When Poornima's father raped Savitha, it made me wonder how many other girls he did this too. The book does not explain that nor does it need to.

Poornima assumed she was ugly due to the abuse by her dad and her aunt. When Poornima was living with her in-laws, the abuse escalated. Not to mention the other traumas she endured. If Poornima did not have that memory of her mom and the comb, I think she might have given up as Madhavi did. That cherished memory( and her friendship with Savitha) was like Poornima's anchor.

Savitha's father had a problem with booze but he was not abusive to her. I think Savitha's cherished memories of her dad help her realized that not all man are bad. When Savitha's father told her about the story of fear it was one of her anchors. Again, the fear story is one of the things that gave Savitha the motivations to keep going.


Posted Mar. 05, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 462

RE: How do the girls' relationships with their fathers shape their childhoods and their worldviews? Do you feel any sympathy or understanding toward Poornima's father?

Both girls had very troubled childhoods. Poorima's father wished her dead, as he did with his other daughters. Savitha's father did little to support his family, but did show her some love. I would think that both girls believed that this was how the world worked, since they had little knowledge of the world beyond their village. Everything that happened after leaving their village did little to change their view. It was their own self worth that kept them going.
I do not have any feeling of sympathy for Poorima's father. He is a rapist, and instead of the villagers deciding to give her in marriage, they should have taken him to prison or the "edge and just pushed him".


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

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 367

RE: How do the girls' relationships with their fathers shape their childhoods and their worldviews? Do you feel any sympathy or understanding toward Poornima's father?

Though the relationships are different -- Savitha's father is much less overtly abusive -- both girls have relationships with. their fathers and with men in general that reinforce a sense of helplessness and worthlessness


Posted Mar. 08, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulagb

Join Date: 08/16/17

Posts: 158

RE: How do the girls' relationships with their fathers shape their childhoods and their worldviews? Do you feel any sympathy or understanding toward Poornima's father?

Neither father provides a good relationship for his daughter although Savitha’s father does appear to love herdespite his drinking. The society these girls are born into does not value females, even the older women support the abuse and destruction of young women. It might be tempting to have sympathy for Poornima’s father, that is until he rapes Savitha. This act is not forgivable and even less so in a society where a girl who has been raped, through no fault of her own, is “ruined”. The girls both take surprisingly bold steps despite their positions in society as poor females.


Posted Mar. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 420

RE: How do the girls' relationships with their fathers shape their childhoods and their worldviews? Do you feel any sympathy or understanding toward Poornima's father?

What I learned is that it is better to be a drunk man, a man who rapes, a poor man, and/or a disabled man than it is to be a woman in this culture. I was horrified by the behavior of the men in this story, but were the girls? They have known abuse and torment from the earliest of ages. What else do they expect? And maybe this is why they move so numbly through the most terrible moments of their lives. Is it possible to become desensitized to this kind of treatment? Is there a moment when they just shrug their shoulders and say "yep, it stinks, but it's just the way it is." When nothing can shock you any more?

I would agree with the other commenters that Savitha experienced a different sort of relationship with her father than Poornima did. I think that is why Savitha recognized Mohan's actions as love. She trusted what he was doing because in some way she had seen it before, from her own father.

And at the same time though, I don't think they did shrug their shoulders and accept what their lives were. This had more to do with their relationship with EACH OTHER than with their fathers. The girls gave each other a sense of purpose, strength, and hope. THEY WERE WORTHWHILE to each other, that made them worthy. They were loved, and that love drove each of them to do something other than what was expected of them.


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

Join Date: 05/16/16

Posts: 140

RE: How do the girls' relationships with their fathers shape their childhoods and their worldviews? Do you feel any sympathy or understanding toward Poornima's father?

Neither have great fathers, but Savitha's father did seem to care but his alcoholism took precedence over everything. I think these beliefs about women are deeply ingrained in the culture for much of the world. I can only hope that over time with more awareness and communication with the rest of the world that things might change. I look at educating women as a huge step forward. The tolerance for this behavior has to change too. I was hopeful when the elders were conferring as to what punishment Poornima's father should receive, I thought everyone would look the other way. I think marriage was not a punishment at all though, he should have been jailed.

I agree with what many of the others wrote about sense of self worth and expectation of treatment from men.


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

Join Date: 03/26/14

Posts: 139

RE: How do the girls' relationships with their fathers shape their childhoods and their worldviews? Do you feel any sympathy or understanding toward Poornima's father?

I’m not sure whether author Rao intended it or not but I felt that the fathers - indeed all men in the book - are rather steriotypical types. Poornima’s father aloof when he isn’t cruel. Savitha’s father is caring when he isn’t absent through alcohol. With these men as the yardstick by which the girls measure all men it sets the stage for how they expect men to treat them. Of course sadly it plays out pretty much as they expect.


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