What does Rukmani mean when she says she does not want to be "an ornament" wife? This is in chapter 1-12.
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Ruku thinks that she does not want to marry a man below her social stature because she would merely be an ornament and of little help to him. This is kind of like the western term "trophy wife."
Ruku is referring to not wanting to marry a man that is mearly a farmer, because if she does then she becomes a trophy to him. When you were reading, you should have came upon the part about when a girl gets married she offers her husband a gift from her family (sort of like an offering to convince the guy marry the rl in the first place). When Ruku gets married, her parents didn't have much to offer. This may have been so, but Ruku's family is ranked as higher class compared to her husband. When this happened in the time the story takes place, it meant that the husband married her just to say that he married someone who is of higher class (ornament wife). In reality, they did it because they really cared about eachother.
I read the book 2 years ago for my college/high school class