In Malaysia they live in a patriarchal society; where the males dominate. Their culture gives more authority and power to males. This is apparent in ‘Anil’, as Anil and his mother sleep on mats whereas Ragunathan has a ‘rattan bed’, creating family tension due to inequality. Though opportunities for men and women differ by ethnic group and social class, it is evident in ‘Anil’ that the parents are both of a lower social class, due to being servants to headman in the village.
The opening line to ‘Anil’ portrays suffering ‘On a hot, sweltering night in the middle of March when the mosquitoes were in their reign of terrorism.’ Ridjal Noor has purposely introduced one of the key moods; ‘suffering’ from the beginning, so that the reader can create pathos. The mosquitoes could be an ongoing metaphorical term referring to the Headman and Marimuthu the crime they have committed.
Noor appeals to the reader’s sense of hearing as well as sight. The visual detail is supported by the alliteration. The personification of the words ‘crickets crying’ intrudes on the quiet atmosphere which Ridjal has created; which is a reminder of family tension.
Family tension is evident between Anil’s parents; Ragunathan physically abuses Amma after coming home drunk “Anil saw the bruise on her shoulder” this could display that the family don’t have a good relationship and they are unhappy with their lifestyle. The alcohol problem is evidenced due to the fact “his eyes were always red”. The use of connotation of ‘red’ could be symbolic of anger or danger. This leads to alcohol abuse causing family tension within Anil’s family.
Family tension is apparent through physical abuse in Anil’s family. Appa physically abuses both Anil and his mother “His father was a burly man, a bully to his family and a timid mouse to the headman”. This suggests that he is violent; the contradictory metaphor contrasts his loyalty to the headman to his violence towards his family. I believe Ragunathan is mirroring the Headman’s behaviour, inflicting it on his family. The quote, ‘he did not need a walloping at this time of night.’ insinuates that Anil was scared to wake up his father. This displays the poor relationship they have with each other creating family tension. The word ‘walloping’ implies that Anil is frequently abused as it is an intricate word for a seven year old.
There may be family tension within the family due to their lifestyle. “roof of the hut where there were many holes in the ceiling” the quote implies that they’re standard of living and quality of life is poor, this is also apparent due to their social class and hierarchy. The Constancy of complex sentence throughout creates a steady pace and rhythm. The steady, slow pace may be symbolic to their lifestyle; everyday they lead the same routine. This may cause confliction in the family as it is limiting their opportunities of life ambitions. Anil is presented as very ambitious “because his dreams were bigger than him”. This may be why his parents have not informed him of his arranged future life “He would also be working for the headman, though he had no knowledge of this” this shows tension during the family, as Anil has bigger expectations of life.
Family tension is apparent between Marimutha and the Headman. The quote “Marimuthu, don’t you chicken out now!” conveys the impression that Matimutha is pressurised by his brother to murder his wife, and disguise it as suicide. Suicide is one of the sins; I think this conveys family tension between Marimutha and the Headman. “The headman suffered the humiliations silently” this is due to his family’s personal affairs being laid out for public speculation, due to his social status. However Marimutha is being given support and sympathy for his loss.
At the end of the story however, Appa’s anguish at having to ‘let go of his only son’ contrasts sharply with the image painted of him; Appa was referred to as a ‘bully to his family and a timid mouse to the headman” Perhaps this is a result of the constraints placed on him by society. I believe the train is used metaphorically to symbolize Ragunathan` feelings, “the train let out a wail’ here it could be suggesting the heartbreaking distress he is feeling; letting go of his only son. The quote ‘its tired wheels’ could be referring to where Ragunathan is emotionally warn out, the use of personification helps to create imagery for the reader.
Ridjal Noor has used writing techniques which help convey family tension ‘Someday you will understand, son, someday you will see that it is for your own good,” the Repetition of ‘someday you will’ emphasizes the frustration and anger he is feeling. There is family tension evident here as Ragunathan has sacrificed his only son for his loyalty to the headman. Tension is also added at the fact Anil doesn’t want to go “Stop this train … stop the train!” again the use of repetition creates tension and emphasizes his emotions of panic. Ridjal Noor uses a similie “image of the train, making it look like a squiggly worm” this conveys imagery for the reader helping them to create pathos for the characters. This quotation is also from Anil’s perspective; this makes the simile more poignant.
Family tension is suggested throughout ‘Anil’, Appa is the main stimulus for most of the family tension. Ridjal Noor has successfully conveyed family tension, by using a diversity of writing techniques to create atmosphere and emotions. Rijal has used the nature as ongoing metaphorical