Family: The short story shows that saving family from punishment comes before moral principles e.g. when the Headman covers the truth of his brother (Marimuthu) committing murder of his wife.
Power: In the village the Headman has more power and Ragunathan appears as a "timid mouse" infront of him. However, he is described as a "bully" infront of his family.
Rich/ Poor: Anil and many other villagers are seen to be poor however, the Headman is rich enough to keep Anil silent by sending him away.
Men/ women: Men appear to be violent bullies in this short story for instant Ragunathan gives Amma a "walloping" showing women as victims of abuse.
Justice: In the story there is never sign of justice for instance Marimuthu got away with murdering his wife. Ragunathan also beats his wife and Anil is sent away from the village as he was aware of the truth.
Anil: He is a typical 7 year old who is scarred after seeing the death of a woman. Words linked with Anil are: neglected, innocent, niave, courageous, frightened.
Ragunathan: He is a bully in the eyes of family however a timid mouse in public. Words linked with Ragunathan are: heartless, guilty, timid mouse, obedient.
Marimuthu: He is a mystery due to us being unaware of why he kills his wife. Words linked with Marimuthu are: mystery, sadistic, sly, evil, fake, selfish, tyrannical.
Headman: He is corrupt as he allows his brother to get away with murder. Words linked with the Headman are: powerful, corrupt, selfish, inconsiderate.
Amma: She is a poor woman who is a victim of abuse by her husband. Words linked with Amma are: innocent, abused, mistreated, kind, reliable, obedient.
In the short story there are traces of:
- Repitition: Line 165 "He did it. I know he did."
- Typography: Line 212 " I don't want to leave you."
- Hyperbole: Line 2 "reign of terrorism".
- Descriptive writing: Line 23 "faded to a muddy green"
- Alliteration: Line 54 "Suspended into suspense."
- Personification: Line 114 "The tree must have spat out the woman's bones"
The short story is set in a village in Malaysia where the villagers followed a traditional lifestyle. The people appear to be independent and have no influence of others.
They live a poor life where they lie in huts dreaming of innocent things such as "tomorrow's cooking".