Throughout the novel, Rukmani is faced with struggle after struggle with no indication that her circumstances will improve. Each time her situation worsens, Rukmani endures quietly, holding on to the hope that things will soon be better. She believes that a person’s spirit is the most important factor in overcoming the harsh realities of life. “Well, and what if we gave in to our troubles at every step! We would be pitiable creatures indeed to be so weak, for is not a man’s spirit given to him to rise above his misfortunes?” (p. 111, 2002 paperback edition). Rukmani has a spirit filled with hope and longing for something more than what she has. This theme runs throughout the novel along with optimism, hope and fear. Twin forces that tugged at us first in one direction and then in another, and which was the stronger no one could say. Of the latter we never spoke, but was always with us" (p. 78, 2002 paperback) Fear comes along as a theme with hope, and it is always present it seems with Rukmani and Nathan.
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