Nectar in a Sieve

Murugan Character Analysis

Murugan is Rukmani’s third son. Murugan moves to a large city to work as a servant, and eventually marries a woman he meets there, Ammu. Like his older brothers, he refuses to live as his parents have and even makes major decisions without consulting them. When Rukmani and Nathan are evicted, they travel to the city in hopes that Murugan will take them in; however, they discover that he’s abandoned his wife and young child, and his whereabouts are unknown. Rukmani feels both sadness for the loss of her son and shame that his character has proved less virtuous than she hoped.
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Murugan Character Timeline in Nectar in a Sieve

The timeline below shows where the character Murugan appears in Nectar in a Sieve. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Rural vs. Urban Poverty Theme Icon
Agriculture vs. Education Theme Icon
...stretched thin. Irawaddy and Arjun are fed well during their childhood, but the succeeding sons—Thambi, Murugan, Raja, and Selvam—grow up on small portions. Luckily, Irawaddy is very capable with children and... (full context)
Chapter 12
Family Theme Icon
Agriculture vs. Education Theme Icon
...grow up and make their own way. Still, she’s despondent to see her family dispersing. Murugan is leaving as well, to be a servant in a nearby city; Kenny has procured... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
After Murugan has been gone some time, Kenny brings good news of him; he is succeeding in... (full context)
Chapter 23
Family Theme Icon
Murugan, who has been working as a servant, marries a girl from the city without consulting... (full context)
Rural vs. Urban Poverty Theme Icon
Agriculture vs. Education Theme Icon
...nothing else to do. Rukmani and Nathan have decided to set off in search of Murugan, who has a good job and can support his parents. They can no longer provide... (full context)
Chapter 24
Rural vs. Urban Poverty Theme Icon
Agriculture vs. Education Theme Icon
...and Rukmani at the outskirts of the city. They have no idea how to reach Murugan’s house on Koil Street, but begin to walk into the city in hopes of meeting... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
...the loss of mere belongings, but Rukmani is disturbed by the prospect of appearing at Murugan’s house empty-handed, like beggars. During the night, she dreams that someone is tugging on her... (full context)
Chapter 25
Rural vs. Urban Poverty Theme Icon
Rukmani and Nathan make their way through the city, hoping to find Murugan before sundown. Many times they have to stop and ask for instructions, and Nathan finds... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
Rural vs. Urban Poverty Theme Icon
...boy explains that there are four Koil Streets, but he happens to know which one Murugan’s employer, Birla, lives on. He agrees to guide them there if they pay him later... (full context)
Rural vs. Urban Poverty Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...explains that they are looking for their son. The servant says that no one named Murugan works here, and he doesn’t even know of such a person. (full context)
Rural vs. Urban Poverty Theme Icon
...female doctor dressed in men’s clothing, approaches. Rukmani explains her plight, and Birla remembers that Murugan came to her on Kenny’s recommendation. However, he left her employ two years ago, and... (full context)
Chapter 26
Family Theme Icon
Chamundi Hill is well-known and easy to find; everyone knows of the Collector, who is Murugan’s employer now. Approaching the house, Rukmani and Nathan are again dismissed as beggars, but when... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...carrying a baby. She’s unfriendly and suspicious, even when Rukmani and Nathan introduce themselves as Murugan’s parents. Without preamble, she tells them that Murugan abandoned her two years ago, and she... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...met before. Her children are obviously hungry. Ammu speaks with hostility, as if she blames Murugan’s parents for his actions; she believes he has left the city, and no one knows... (full context)
Women and Sexuality Theme Icon
As they share a midday meal, Rukmani suggests that there must have been “reasons” for Murugan to run away. Offended, Ammu says that the reasons were “women and gambling.” Although she’s... (full context)