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Water: A Look at India

Water, the 2005 award winning film by Indian-born Canadian director Deepa Mehta, explores the lives of widows living in an ashram in Varanasi, India in 1938.  Following an ancient Hindi tradition (interpretation), the a woman is given three choices upon becoming a widow: submit to a life of self-denial and bitter suffering, die a sacrificial fire (sati) to remain with her husband, or, if the family permits, marry her husband's younger brother.  Water traces the life of the young, eight year old widow, Chuyia, and the second youngest widow at the ashram, Kalyani, who must confront the slippery slope between upholding sacred traditions and living out the reality of her times.

In Water Kalyani must decide how to balance her tradition, religion, culture, and dreams amidst the reality of 1938 India.  By the end of the film, Kalyani makes a decision which re-defines her life as well as the lives of many of the girls and women at the ashram.  Choose any person in history (you could also include your own story), who has faced a similar situation in which he or she had to make a decision between the culture, religion, and tradition and changing times.  Write an essay for Friday, October 22 explaining the situation in which your chosen person faced and the decision which he or she made.  Be sure to explain your choice.  Why was your chosen person's decision significant, admirable, tragic, hopeful, etc.?  How did what he or she did leave a particular mark on history?  Please be sure to follow the writing rubric and attach a stapled copy to the paper you turn in on Friday.