lonely, as a satellite

i feel terrible, i am terrible. my personal slogan. so healthy. yeah.

be strong.  it will be a false strength.

be a fighter. im so tired of fighting this.

be a survivor. but i don’t want to survive this.

suicidal ideation is the worst.

naw really tho, today is an okay day. i don’t feel as bad as i could. my mom decided to stay in minnesota overnight, which only makes sense i suppose. i’m almost done with the god of small things, reading at the pace the professor assigns, so, slowly.

I just did my homework, which was to take a passage from the book and take it apart to see what it actually means. I did well, talked forever about the roles of women in traditional indian society.  i chose this excerpt (I wanna keep it because I really like this passage and my own stupid, convoluted interpretation of it), about ammu (TL;DR, AMMU IS REALLY SHIVERING AT THE THOUGHT OF HER COMPLICIT IMPRISONMENT IN SOCIETY, LOL:

“Ammu shivered. With that cold feeling on a hot afternoon that Life had been Lived. That her cup was full of dust. That the air, the sky, the trees, the sun, the rain, the light and the darkness were all slowly turning to sand. That sand would fill her nostrils, her lungs, her mouth. Would pull her down, leaving on the surface a spinning swirl like crabs leave when they burrow downwards on a beach”(Roy 212).

Here Ammu had just imagined her reflection in the mirror as one of an old woman.

In Indian society at that time (and even today in many cases), women basically had only a couple of things to do in their lives to call them lived and done. Marry, and raise children (preferably boys, as girls need a dowry). Some more wealthy families, like Ammu’s, could afford to educate their daughters to make them more desirable/give them more opportunities for marriage. Or in the case of Baby Kochamma, because her life had run its course, and she was considered too old to marry, so she may as well be educated. Divorce, as we’ve seen in this book, is frowned upon. So Ammu, in a sense, had lived her life already, and more than that, in a way, she failed to live it to her society’s standard.

Roy uses the phrase “cold feeling on a hot afternoon”, I think, to show how this feeling surprised Ammu, the cold from the heat. Cold feelings are not often portrayed as pleasant ones, so I’m making an assumption here when I say that this one wasn’t pleasant for Ammu. When it continues with “that Life had been Lived”, the capitalized “Life” and “Lived” makes it seem like an established, unquestionable thing. Ammu’s “Life” as established by her society had been “Lived.” This is a sad, inescapable thought to me, and, again, I assume, to Ammu herself. In other portions of the book, it seems she tries to buck away from this thought, this label, these expectations that her family and greater culture have placed on her.

The next sentence, “That her cup was full of dust” reminds me of the Biblical “my cup runneth over”, which means that one has everything they could ever want, and then some. But for her to have the thought that her “cup was full of dust”,  is more depressing, as it suggests she has nothing that she wants, or that she doesn’t have a use for wants anymore (as, to me, dust represents something that hasn’t been thought about or touched for a long time).

Next, “the air, the sky, the trees, the sun, the rain, the light and the darkness were all slowly turning to sand.” Here Ammu imagines everything that makes the physical world what it is, turning to sand. But slowly. Perhaps over the course of her life? As if even as she gets closer to death, everything around her turns to sand and loses itself too?

The next part ties into that: “That sand would fill her nostrils, her lungs, her mouth. Would pull her down, leaving on the surface a spinning swirl like crabs leave when they burrow downwards on a beach.” Here the sand “fills her nostrils, her lungs, her mouth”, so she can’t breathe or speak freely. And then it swallows her, this quick-sand that I think reflects societal expectations when it comes to women, how they are supposed to live their lives, and what aging means to them. Is she suggesting dying? I don’t really know. The last part about the final “spinning swirl like crabs leave when they burrow downwards on a beach” makes me feel like Ammu feels as though she is a complicit and willing participant in this act of being swallowed by the sand, in a way. She is that crab, not even really being swallowed by sand, but burrowing into it, deeper and deeper as time goes on. “Slowly”, she thought about the sand transforming the earth.

Although there is a helplessness to her thoughts, I believe Ammu is shivering at the “cold feeling” idea of being complicit in her fetter to society, as is Roy, the author, through her.

THE END ←I didn’t write that on the actual assignment.

as you can see, I went kind of overboard with the five paragraphs, but I like writing about writing. I LOVE THE SOUND OF MY OWN LITERARY VOICE

 

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