Fasting, Feasting

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Lily Aunty and Bakul Uncle Character Analysis

Bakul Uncle is the brother of Papa, and Lily Aunty is his wife. Almost always mentioned together, Bakul Uncle and Lily Aunty have a marriage much like Mama and Papa's—neither one expresses a different will or opinion than the other. The parents of Anamika and Ramu, Bakul Uncle and Lily Aunty live in the city and are wealthier than Mama and Papa, due to Bakul Uncle's successful career as a popular attorney. To the traditionally minded Lily Aunty and Bakul Uncle, success and social approval are very important, which is why they don't allow Anamika to go to college, instead pursuing the wealthiest husband for Anamika — with no consideration for the man's character. It is also their fear of social disgrace that prevents them from rescuing Anamika from what they know is an unsafe marriage. When she dies a violent death, they refuse to acknowledge what really happened, saying it was destiny.

Lily Aunty and Bakul Uncle Quotes in Fasting, Feasting

The Fasting, Feasting quotes below are all either spoken by Lily Aunty and Bakul Uncle or refer to Lily Aunty and Bakul Uncle . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Gender and Social Roles Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Houghton Mifflin edition of Fasting, Feasting published in 2000.
Chapter 6 Quotes

Uma said, ‘I hope they will send her back. Then she will be home with Lily Aunty again, and happy.’
‘You are so silly, Uma,’ Mama snapped (…) ‘How can she be happy if she is sent home? What will people say? What will they think?’

Related Characters: Uma (speaker), Mama (speaker), Anamika, Lily Aunty and Bakul Uncle
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we learn what happens to Uma's stunningly beautiful, intelligent cousin, Anamika. Although she's awarded a prestigious scholarship to Oxford, Anamika is forbidden to attend university--instead, she's married off to a rich, cruel man, beaten, and rendered infertile. Uma wishes that Anamika's husband would send her away (i.e., back home to her mother); but when Uma raises such a possibility, Mama calls her a fool. Anamika must remain with her husband, Mama insists, or "people will talk."

The passage illustrates Mama's insensitivity to people's individual suffering when it doesn't fit her worldview, as well as her slavish devotion to public opinion. It doesn't matter to Mama that Anamika is suffering, or that she was denied a life of education and liberty at Oxford--the only thing Mama cares about is the opinion of other people (who would, supposedly, be shocked if they heard that Anamika had left her husband). Mama's horizons are so narrow, so confined to the opinions of her neighbors, that she can't conceive of a world in which Anamika's going off to Oxford independently would be the "right thing."

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Lily Aunty and Bakul Uncle Character Timeline in Fasting, Feasting

The timeline below shows where the character Lily Aunty and Bakul Uncle appears in Fasting, Feasting. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Gender and Social Roles Theme Icon
Family Life and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
Plenty/"Feasting" vs. Want/"Fasting" Theme Icon
Loneliness and Togetherness Theme Icon
...adventuring at sea. Mama and Papa are unhappy to see Ramu, for this son of Lila Aunty and Bakul Uncle is the black sheep of the family, but Uma is thrilled. Against... (full context)
Chapter 6
Gender and Social Roles Theme Icon
Family Life and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
Plenty/"Feasting" vs. Want/"Fasting" Theme Icon
Tradition/India vs. Modernity/West Theme Icon
...cousin, the gracious, beautiful and intelligent Anamika, wins a scholarship to Oxford, but her parents, Lila Aunty and Bakul Uncle, do not consider allowing her to go. Rather, to her private sadness,... (full context)
Chapter 12
Family Life and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
Plenty/"Feasting" vs. Want/"Fasting" Theme Icon
...Shiva that she had lost, and Mira-Masi only wails hysterically. Some time after Mira-Masi leaves, Lila Aunty comes to visit, and tells Mama and Uma that after much searching, Mira-Masi did eventually... (full context)
Chapter 13
Family Life and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
Plenty/"Feasting" vs. Want/"Fasting" Theme Icon
Loneliness and Togetherness Theme Icon
Lila Aunty and Bakul Uncle come to deposit Anamika’s ashes down the sacred river that runs alongside... (full context)