Nectar in a Sieve

Kuti Character Analysis

Kuti is Rukmani’s youngest son. Kuti is born just after Irawaddy’s marriage collapses, and his older sister cares for him as if he is her own child. However, when he is a toddler, famine strikes the village, threatening the entire family with starvation. Irawaddy works as a prostitute in order to buy milk for Kuti, who is the most vulnerable; despite her sacrifice, he dies of malnutrition.

Kuti Quotes in Nectar in a Sieve

The Nectar in a Sieve quotes below are all either spoken by Kuti or refer to Kuti. 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:
Suffering Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet edition of Nectar in a Sieve published in 2010.
Chapter 11 Quotes

None more so than Ira: the transformation in her was as astonishing as it was inexplicable. I had feared she might dislike the child, but now it was as if he were her own. She lost her dreary air, her face became animated, the bloom of youth came back to her.

Related Characters: Rukmani (speaker), Irawaddy, Kuti
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 17 Quotes

When Kuti was gone—with a bland indifference that mocked our loss—the abundant grain grew ripe.

Related Characters: Rukmani (speaker), Kuti
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kuti Character Timeline in Nectar in a Sieve

The timeline below shows where the character Kuti appears in Nectar in a Sieve. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...her ability to do what she cannot. When the baby is born, Rukmani names him Kuti. Although she worried he would irritate Irawaddy, his presence affects a transformation in her; she... (full context)
Chapter 14
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...has stolen the rice. All the children look at her as if she is crazy. Kuti cries desperately. (full context)
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Kuti is most strongly affected by the famine. He has always been a sickly child, and... (full context)
Chapter 16
Rural vs. Urban Poverty Theme Icon
Agriculture vs. Education Theme Icon
...remain until the harvest. Rukmani knows that she and the older children will endure, but Kuti is in constant danger; he’s developed a large rash, and sores form when he scratches... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Some days later, Rukmani notices that Kuti has taken a turn for the better. She fears that the small improvement is the... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
Rukmani returns to the hut, where Irawaddy and Kuti are lying. Irawaddy tells Rukmani to use the rupee in her sari and buy him... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
By working as a prostitute, Irawaddy buys milk for Kuti and rice for the family. Rukmani is grateful, but Nathan refuses to eat the food... (full context)
Chapter 17
Rural vs. Urban Poverty Theme Icon
Agriculture vs. Education Theme Icon
After Kuti’s death, the rice ripens “with a bland indifference that mocked our loss,” producing a better... (full context)
Chapter 18
Suffering Theme Icon
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...for the help he provides but for his gentle presence. She confides that Raja and Kuti have died, then asks about his own family. Kenny roughly admits that his wife has... (full context)
Chapter 23
Suffering Theme Icon
Rural vs. Urban Poverty Theme Icon
...is not to blame for everything. The vagaries of the land led to starvation and Kuti’s death, and the landlord could take away the farm at any moment. (full context)