'Anil' by Ridjal Noor

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  • Created by: Harpreet
  • Created on: 16-05-13 15:29

plot summary

7 year old boy Anil wakes up in the middle of the night needing the toilet.

he witnesses a terrible murder of a woman being hung from a tree by two men.

many of Ridjal Noor's stories have a multicultural aspect to them

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time place and situation

Malaysia- small village, we gather they are quite poor, the boy sleeps on a mat on the floor

line 11 'Anil lay awake on his mat'

line 21 'Beside him, on another mat spread on the dusty floor, slept his mother. She wore a faded sari,'

Hut- thatched roof, there are holes in it which through them, he can see the sky

Tree- seems quite important, its vines seem to wrap around everything

Train- at the end of the story the young boy is actually on the train saying goodbye to his father.

he was sent on the train because the people who hung her were fearful he as a witness would say something and get them into trouble with the authorities.

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point of view/ form

third person narrative

'anil lay awake on his mat, his eyes transfixed on the thatched roof of the hut where there were many holes in the ceiling.'

later on in the story, Noor uses the first person narrative in italics

line 216 'i will never forget this town and the sin that it buries today.'

the use of the italics and the first person narrative makes the reader comprehend that in witnessing this murder and the fact that they are getting away with it and he has to leave his father and mother shows that this will have a profound effect on him for the rest of his life.

the way that the writer suddenly changes into the 1st person narrative and the use of the italics 'i will never' suggests that this was not how his life were to pan out, the direction he's going to wasn't the one for him.

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form continued

this was never part of his life plan he was going to stay in the village

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key things to look at when trying to characterise someone.

-physical description



-direct comment from the author

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Marimuthu- the headman's brother


the father has different names, and this can show some of the different roles he plays within the village.

father to anil and in terms of the household he is the head of his family

line 37 'but he could see his father's close-knit eyebrows and his thick moustache.' 

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'His father was a burly man, a bully to his family and a timid mouse to the headman.'

we find out he has actually beaten his wife but in the rest of society he is the servant of the headman.

why did marimuthu manage to get away with the murder of his wife?

he is the headman's brother therefore he is higher up in the social hierachy. And also the village is quite male orientated.

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the darkness- 'As if thinking it alone would bring it into being. As if they could read his mind. They. Peyi. Pesase. Ghosts.'

the childlike fear of ghosts.

stars- 'Because he believed in magical wonders of life. Because his dreams were bigger than him.'

he has this fascination for stars, probably he dreams of going to school and to university and it does come about but it comes about in the wrong way/the wrong reasons.

we can all relate to this 'dreams bigger than us'

tree-'he saw the large, ghostly tree that grew in front of the hut.' a  couple of times the tree is mentioned and that it is sort of holding everything together with its vines. > links in with the childlike fear of the 'ghostly tree'.

it was like a tree that ate little children which is what happens to the wife of marimuthu.

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tree foreshadows what's to come.

the symbollism of the star and then we come back to it after the main incident on line 103

'there were no more stars in the morning as Anil woke up to a noisy commotion outside the hut'

symbollic of how his whole life has come crashing down after seeing this crime, he is now faced with the reality of his life.

the language use in some of the sentences in the setting help build up an atmosphere that's right for something to go wrong.

'on a hot, sweltering night in the middle of March when the mosquitos were in their reign of terrorism,'

and 'a mosquito had embedded its pain upon him' mosquito bites can be very painful and so there is an uncomfortable feel to it.

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-childish dreams

-loss of innocence

-reality of life

-childlike innocence

-social order/power


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the trees have vines that hang, this could be foreshadowing the woman who is hung.

but also the tree is famous for snatching kids away, could this be foreshadowing whats to come for Anil, being taken away and sent off to school and university, but he's not going to be sent away by a tree, but even more scary, men.

tree foreshadows Anil's fate of being taken away.

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