[Behind the Beautiful Forevers]
In the Prologue of Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo provides us with insight into the lives of struggling Annawadians living in slums on the edge of a developing airport. In particular, she highlights the story of Abdul, a garbage sorter who is hiding from police after being accused of beating and burning his neighbor One Leg.
Boo writes “As India began to prosper, old ideas about accepting the life assigned by one’s cast or one’s divinities were yielding to a belief in earthy reinvention.” (21) Boo goes on to illustrate this by noting the progressive dreams of other Annawadians such as Abdul’s brother, Mirchi, who did not intend to sort garbage. In fact, Mirchi desired “…a bathroom as big as this hut!” (22).
Which characters seem to have the most interesting or “unaccepting” aspirations? Why do you think so? Please provide page citations.
According to Annawadi's societal expectations and economic status, Manju, Asha's teenage daughter has the most interesting aspiration. Manju aspires to be Annawadi's first female college graduate (22). Ironically, her mother wants to be the slumlord of her country.
Out of all of the characters' mentioned, I do think that her goal may be the hardest to reach (just because an educated women is unheard of in her country). It may also be the most unrealistic goal because of the barriers she may encounter. However, I think that it is the most courageous, which is why I think that Manju's aspirations are the most interesting.
I agree with Abdul (page 22), by saying the One Leg had the wildest dream. She believes sleeping around will make her feel pretty. This is poor self-awareness on her part, and I don't have any respect for the character.
Regarding Abdul's fathers comment on page 15, I think he has the most interesting aspirations for his son - in a negative way. As a family, Abdul is expected to work and provide for his family but his father dismisses his ability to go to school and get an education. His aspiration is interesting because not only is it strange that his father does not believe education is a priority, he is making judgements based on his own opinions regardless of Abdul's abilities. One Leg also has a strange and negative aspiration that finds beauty by sleeping around. (p 22)
I believe that Raja Kamble had the most interesting and touching dream (page 22). He wants his heart to be "fixed" so he can be there for his children longer. It was one of the more selfless aspirations and probably one of the more unrealistic considering the circumstances. Something huge would have to happen to even be able to maintain the resources to receive a procedure like that.
I think Raja Kamble, the sickly toilet cleaner (22) had an interesting apiration for medical rebirth. He wanted a new valve for his heart so he could continue to raise his children. Seeing that this is a very poor area of India, I doubt that this medical rebirth for him will ever happen. Seeing that Raja probably is only making the bare minimum with the type of work that he does, the heart procedure probably will not happen.
I think that One Leg's dream is the most interesting of dreams. Most people dreams in the slum may be far fetched, but at least they are noble and inspiring. One Leg's dream is a little sad, but in a way, every women's want. we all want to be desirable to someone and it must really hard for her to be considered an outcast slum full of unwanted people.
I think that Sita has the most in accepting aspirations because she has no desires outside of extramarital sex which is sinful and unhealthy.
I believe that the fifteen-year-old named Meenea (pg 22) had the most interesting aspiration as in wanting to go against her cultural beliefs and get married based on love. I admire her character for wanting true love and in doing so, potentially risking her life and culture. The fact that she would be willing to break the rules and be subjected to the rejection of her family and way of life is extremely respected.
I think the most "unrealistic" aspiration is made by Manju to become the first female graduate of Annawadi (page 22). With the circumstances of the people of Annawadi, especially women, it is very unlikely for that to happen. I believe with the right amount of drive though, it is possible.
Although Manju's is the most unrealistic, I think that One Leg's is the most interesting. It is a bizarre dream to want extramarital sex to feel beautiful, then and now (page 22). One Leg is the character that makes you wonder what their background story is.
I agree with others that Manju, the teenage girl, had the most unrealistic or unaccepting aspiration. She wants to be the first female college graduate from that city (22). It's a bit unrealistic because not many of the children are in school and on top of that not many are woman. I also think that One Leg's aspiration was unaccepting because she wanted to be respected and seen as attractive and Addul states that other Annawadians consider this to be "inappropriate for a cripple" (22-23)
I believe that Asha's dream is the most unacceptable or rather, the most unattainable. Asha aspires to be Annawadi's first female slumlord and essentially pull herself to middle class status (22). What makes her dream harder to achieve is because she is a woman and women in India do not tend to have positions of power unless their husband does.
In my opinion, the character with the most interesting aspirations would be Manju, who wants to be the first female graduate of Annawadi(22). In Annawadi, it seems to be the norm to not aim too high, and those that do aim higher than most have goals that would be considered low amongst western standards, like Abdul's brother, Mirchi, that wants to work at a luxury hotel(21). If working at a hotel is a high goal for people in Annawadi,then becoming to first female graduate would be a extremely high goal, especially for a girl.
I believe that Asha has the most interesting aspirations. She aspires to be the slumlord of Annawadi. This is an interesting aspiration on its own, made even more difficult by the fact that she is a woman. Female slumlords are rare. (page 55)
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