Major Conflicts in the Novel

The central conflict in the novel is the arranged marriage. Manny’s parents arranged a marriage for Manny when he is seventeen. However, Manny dislike the fact that he needs to have a family this young and he wants to live his own life. At the end, he plays a cheat and takes revenge on his family on the wedding day, escaping with Ady to celebrate his seventeenth birthday. After that, Manny breaks free from all the limitations, yet he also loses his entire family.

Themes

1. Cultural Clashes

Everyone lives their own culture, which might or might not be the same as people who live around us. The different cultures might clash to each other and cause confusion, disagreement, or even argument. Some of these clashes are as strong as a deconstruction force toward any relationship between two human beings.

2. Teenager rebellions

It is normal that most people will rebel against their parents when they are a teenager. However, to what degree shall teenagers go against their parents’ will, is the question. Since teens are usually too immature to look after themselves, most of the people argues that teens should still listen to parents. That leads a hard decision for the teens to decide, either to listen to their parents, or the listen to the voice in their minds or in their hearts.

3. Traditional versus Modern

The environment we lived in today, is a fast pace changing society. However, that does not suggest human beings to throw away their traditions. On the other side, if a person holds tightly on his or her traditions, he or she might not be able to accept the modern views and might not “catch up” with the changes in society. Therefore, to find a balance between being too modern or too traditional is essential to every human being.

Relationships (Manny and other characters)

Ady is Manny’s best friend, they laugh together, skive together, and even shoplift together. He is the one that Manny always trust and Ady helps Manny to take the revenge on his family, to escape on the wedding day. He is also Manny’s mental support when he is sad because of things happened in his family.

Lisa is Manny’s first girl friend, who always comfort him when he thinks about the troubles that he got at home. However, they did not see each other for more than 9 months, which ends up as they cannot be together. Regardless of the said ending, Lisa is a mental support to Manny when he is down.

Manny’s father is a tyrant in the house, who always beats Manny and shouts at Manny. Manny does not like him, since he just beats Manny randomly, especially when he is drunk. His father plans about leaving himself alone in India and thinking he will be one of the Jats like him, which makes Manny start to hate him.

Ranjit is Manny’s eldest brother. Although he is described as a copy of his father, he sometimes really cares Manny, such as hugging him when Manny is crying after being caught by police due to shoplifting. Ranjit sometimes also protects Manny from Harry’s teasing and shouting. However, Manny still dislike him, because of the way he thinks about family name and honor. His wife, Jas, is really nice and the only one who cares about Manny after he is being expelled. Manny likes his sister-in-law.

Harry is Manny’s second brother, who always bullies Manny. Manny hates him since he is rude, arrogant, and ignorant. More than these, Harry is also a racist, who dislike the fact that Manny hangout with Blacks.

Manny’s mother never talks to Manny besides asking him what to eat and acting her “melodrama” when it comes to talking about arrange marriage. Manny does not have any strong relationship with his mother.

 

First Person Narration

The novel is using first person narration, and throughout the story, we are hearing from Manny’s voice.

By using the first person narration, we could hear the direct feedback, thoughts, and reflections from Manny. By doing so, author reduce the distance between the reader and the book by creating a reliable character, who is talks, thinks like a teenager. Moreover, the background further develop the reliability of the story as the differences between cultures are depicted through examples that readers could find in real life (family and immigrants). Last but not least, author had successfully created a ¬†traditional Indian family and the conflicts between third generation immigrants and first generation immigrants. In addition to all the events occurred in the novel, the passage written on the covers had mentioned that the book was written based on the author’s experience, enhance the believability of the novel.

Protagonist Profile

Protagonist: Manny

Age: Thirteen to Seventeen (Manny grows within the novel)

Home: according to himself, Leicester is his home. According to his father, India is his home.

Likes: playing with Ady, hang out with Lisa, talking to Uncle Jag and Mohan when he was in India, doing things in his way, and living a life for himself

Dislikes: the way being treated by family members (namely his father and older brothers), the fact that he must marry to a person that he never know, and his father’s attitude towards his best friend, Ady, all the traditions that his family kept.

Hobbies: football and smoking (especially during the time he was in India), maybe thinking as well.

Favourite pastime: the time that he spend with Ady, the time he stayed with Lisa, the time he talked to Lisa’s parents

Attitude towards school and teachers: He values education at the beginning of the book as he is one of the top students in his grade. However, after being told about the arranged marriage, he stops to pay attention to the teachers and homework as a cheat to get rid of the arranged marriage. During the time in India that he spent with Uncle Jag, he start to value education again and once he break through the chain of his family, he go for night schools for education.

Attitude towards work: No specific attitude (such as devoted) is revealed in the novel. His job at the local supermarket is simply a place to go to avoid his family members and a place to hang out with Ady after coming back from India. However, after he break through the chains, he works in order to save money for living his own life.

You see, if they had bothered to open their eyes, they would have seen me: seventeen, angry, upset but determined. Determined to do my own thing, to choose my own path in life

It’s kind of hard to explain the journey that I’ve made over the last few years, but I’ll try because I believe that it’s a story worth telling