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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:
Why do you think the men decided to share the two particular stories with Savitha, especially knowing that she can't understand English? What do they add to the novel as a whole?

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: 2082

Why do you think the men decided to share the two particular stories with Savitha, especially knowing that she can't understand English? What do they add to the novel as a whole?

Discuss the two stories Savitha hears from the men with whom she hitchhikes: the multi-generational story that ends in the propane gas explosion, and the story about the daughter who is half black and half white. Why do you think the men decided to share those particular stories with Savitha, especially knowing that she can't understand English? What do they add to the novel as a whole?


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

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 271

RE: Why do you think the men decided to share the two particular stories with Savitha, especially knowing that she can't understand English? What do they add to the novel as a whole?

Savitha learned to be a good listener when she was a prostitute. She could read men and tell what may be going on in their lives. She also read the couple, Jacob and Millie, knowing they were parents, (with a kind of love that was limitless and hopeless, both at once). Understanding that she had nothing but aloneness and extensive sorrow, she did feel safe with the couple and so went with them. When Millie falls asleep, Jacob opens up and tells his story, feeling safe with only Savitha listening but not understanding. His story mirrors parts of Savitha's story, disappointment and love of family, abuse by a stranger, and the strength humans have in times of strain.
Savitha felt comfortable with the black man as his skin was close in color to hers though not understanding why it made her at ease. When he spoke about his daughter being a mess, born a mess, it struck her that there was nothing as concerned as that man, not just for her, but for all girls of a certain age, maybe, or for those with a certain ache. His story also mirrors some of Savitha's experiences too.
I believe the combined stories that are told to Savitha remind the reader that this is a book about human connection. We all have stories to tell that reflect on one another.


Posted Mar. 11, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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alwaysdaddygirl

Join Date: 09/04/16

Posts: 110

RE: Why do you think the men decided to share the two particular stories with Savitha, especially knowing that she can't understand English? What do they add to the novel as a whole?

Renem sums it well and I agree. All of Savitha life experiences could probably be seen in her face. When strangers look too bare their soul, they look for faces( and eyes) that have seen a hard time. I can only imagine the sadness that came from Savitha's eyes.


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

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 118

RE: Why do you think the men decided to share the two particular stories with Savitha, especially knowing that she can't understand English? What do they add to the novel as a whole?

I think sometimes people need to talk about things regardless of whether the person with them can understand them. The two men were sharing stories they needed to share and Savitha was just a receptacle, if you will. Kind of interesting that she was the receptacle for brutality, sex, and confidences.


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

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 210

RE: Why do you think the men decided to share the two particular stories with Savitha...

It is possible the second man recognized his daughter in Savitha. And even though she is a mess, he wants her to be safe and cared for. He validates Savitha and where she is in life-yes, she is definitely a bit of a mess right now, but still very much worthy of kindness. He offers her a brief moment of protection and security. All that he hopes for his own daughter out there in the world. I interpreted the story of the other man as a round about way of telling Savitha that what comes around goes around. Her suffering is now, but those who inflicted it will feel it eventually. He too validates her.

And I love the comment from the above poster! That Savitha can be treated with such violence and hate, yet trusted at the same time. Women give men a place to take out their anger and violence. They offer some sort of gratification. And they will also be secret keepers for thoughts, feelings, and ideas men might be too scared to share with other men.


Posted Mar. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alwaysdaddygirl's Gravatar
alwaysdaddygirl

Join Date: 09/04/16

Posts: 110

RE: Why do you think the men decided to share the two particular stories with Savitha, especially knowing that she can't understand English? What do they add to the novel as a whole?

The way the gentlemen in the restaurant talked about his daughter was heartwarming Acstrine. My apologies for offending you earlier.


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

Join Date: 05/16/16

Posts: 57

RE: Why do you think the men decided to share the two particular stories with Savitha, especially knowing that she can't understand English? What do they add to the novel as a whole?

For me, it shows that abuse and challenges can happen anywhere. I think those two men needed to share their story and she was there to listen.


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

Join Date: 03/26/14

Posts: 139

Why do you think the men decided to share the two particular stories with Savitha, especially knowing that she can't understand English? What do they add to the novel as a whole?

The men saw Savitha as merely a receptacle. The stories the men tell - especially because she couldn’t understand them - reinforced the author’s point about how men in the girls’ world write the rules and women may not speak or challenge male authority.


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

Join Date: 05/26/11

Posts: 55

RE: Why do you think the men decided to share the two particular stories with Savitha, especially knowing that she can't understand English? What do they add to the novel as a whole?

I really thought that the story about the boy being abused could have been better connected to the theme. It seemed to stick out like a sore thumb and, although abuse might be seen as a connection, it was too obtuse to draw a deep connection. I tried, but it felt forced.


Posted Mar. 14, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 373

RE: Why do you think the men decided to share the two particular stories with Savitha, especially knowing that she can't understand English? What do they add to the novel as a whole?

As I read, I wondered why the author had included the stories of the men. After I finished reading them, I felt the men had carried these stories inside of themselves for a long time. It would not be manly to tell them. Now they have the perfect outlet. Savitha does not understand what they are saying. For them, the men, it was abuse and they could not speak about it. They felt good after letting it go. And Savitha knew this, even though she did not understand the words. The author was saying abuse happens to both males and females. Maybe a different form but still abuse. It is not always physical.


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