Three Important Relationships Developing In Burnt Sugar

Avni Doshi
Amy Tan

There are three core relationships that Avni Doshi creates in her compelling novel. A relationship with herself, one with her husband, and one with her mother. Each of these relationships are complex as well as not linear, and the imperfections of them shape who Antara is. Avni Doshi’s Burnt Sugar puts forward three important themes and topics that stand out to readers. The first theme follows Antara’s trauma from her past and turns herself into her own worst enemy. She struggles to be present in every situation she encounters because she always reverts to her horrible childhood in which she had an absent father and horrible relationship with her mother. Simple daily topics, such as diets and playgrounds, turn into complex reminders of her past struggles. Each of these reminders re-enforce Antara’s trauma and instills in her that she is some sort of an outsider in the grand scheme of things because of her relationship with her mother. The second takeaway so far has been exploring the relationship between Antara and Dillip, her Indian husband who had immigrated to America during his childhood. Learning more about the nature of their dynamic’s steps from the dialogue between them, their families’ comments about them, Antara’s opinions of Dillip, and from Tara, who is insightful in understanding the true nature of their relationship. Dillip’s Americanized background is emphasized in his misunderstandings about Antara’s life, experiences, and history with her mother. Dillip fails to comfort or sympathize with his wife because he does not understand the essence of the problem. He loves his own mother and does not understand the complicated relationship between Antara and her mother. Paired with his insensitivity for Antara’s difficult life, the lack of attention, and the minimal comfort he gives her, Dillip may never be able to resolve the tensions of their marriage that have existed since the beginning of their marriage. Our Lit Circle observes that Avni Doshi explores the idea of hybridity we read in Zaddie Smith’s works in her own novel as she constructs a strained relationship between Antara and her mother, Tara. Doshi demonstrates the complexity of an unconventional mother-daughter relationship, as Antara resents her mother for the way her mother selfishly raised her, but in contradiction is her greatest caretaker. Antara’s had an absent father growing up, yet she blames her mother for trauma even though she was a single mother. To understand a mother-daughter relationship as complicated as this one, one must see where the resentment strives from and the decisions that have shaped one another to reach this place. Nonetheless, Antara and Tara cannot seem to spend much time without each other. The conflicting characterization of both women and their clashing behavior reveal their own similarities.

Sami, Eugenie, Kate

This entry was posted in 2020 Booker Short List novels, Literature Circles aka #litcircles and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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