Meena. Dishonest - Steals from her mothers purse to buy sweets from Mr Ormerod's shop and lies about it. Intellegent - First person to pass 11-plus exam from Tollington in ten years.
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Dishonest - Steals from her mothers purse to buy sweets from Mr Ormerod's shop and lies about it.
Intellegent - First person to pass 11-plus exam from Tollington in ten years.
Misfit - Neither a Tollington girl nor truly Indian. "I know I was not a bad girl, just a mixed-up girl, a girl with no name or no place" (pg 303).
Mature - She is mature enough to tear Anita's letter "into tiny pieces" (pg 322) and flushes them down the toilet.
Wise - In the end, she leaves a letter for Anita but didn't expect her response. "She never replied, of course" (pg 328).
Meena is an Indian girl. Her family is the only Indian family known in Tollington (until the end). One of the conflicts that Meena faces is mixing up with the Tollington society. As we know that she is neither a Tollington girl nor truly Indian. Her parents are an embarrassment with their Indian ways, such eating home food with fingers in shifts. Meena tries to mix in by being friends with Anita. She is fascinated by Anita because Anita represents Tollington culture and is the antithesis of every thing Meena's parents stand for and believe in.
Another conflict in Meena's life is being friends with Anita. While shes trying to be friends with Anita, Meena ends up rebeling against her parents. She starts lying, stealing and framing others. However she later realises that her friendship with Anita is just a temporary comfort.
Rites of Passage
There are several Meena's that we see throughout the novel. Firstly, there is a 9 year old Meena who lies and steals from her mothers purse who changes to a much more mature young woman who is now capable of ripping Anita's letter "into tiny pieces and flushing them in the toilet. We also see the adult Meena who is looking back and describing what happened throughout those two years. By the end of the novel, Meena moves into new neighbourhood, in a better house, near a girls' grammer school to start a new life without Anita. In a sense, the entire novel is about Meena growing up.
Syal wants us to learn that if you lack something and you try to get it by not being yourself, you will only get it temporaryly because as soon as you start being yourself again, it'll be gone.