Summary of The Covenant of Water - by Abraham Verghese - A Comprehensive Summary #712165

di Francis Thomas

Ben Business Group LLC

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Summary of The Covenant of Water

of Abraham Verghese's novel, "The Covenant of Water," setting the stage for a sprawling family saga that spans three generations and encompasses themes of death, faith, and love in a changing India. The chapter takes place in 1900 in Travancore, South India, and follows the story of a twelve-year-old girl named Mariamma, belonging to a long-standing Christian community, as she prepares to marry a widower who is three decades older and has a young son. Mariamma, also known as Big Ammachi, contemplates the life she is leaving behind as she bids farewell to her only home and expresses her thoughts through writing.
Verghese paints a vivid picture of the landscape of Travancore, where the convergence of the sea and white beaches merges with meandering rivers flowing down the lush slopes of the Ghats. It is a land of enchantment for a child, with cascading torrents, rippling waterways, intricate pools and canals, a labyrinthine network of swamps and emerald lotus wetlands, and an extensive interconnected system where water is ever-present and integral to the lives of its inhabitants.
Before delving deeper into the main narrative of the book, it is crucial to comprehend the history of Kerala, situated at the tip of the Indian peninsula. Verghese explores the historical backdrop of this region located along the Malabar coast, emphasizing its rich cultural heritage that has evolved over centuries. Kerala is renowned for its picturesque lagoons and wetlands, which profoundly influence the way of life for its people. Religion holds significant sway in Kerala's culture, with Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam being the dominant faiths.
Through the novel, readers gain profound insights into Kerala's history and culture. Among the notable themes explored in the book are the drownings, a frequent occurrence in Kerala due to its geographical features.
The lagoons and wetlands of Kerala created a perilous environment, often leading to tragic accidents, especially among the fishermen who relied on these waterways for their livelihoods. Religion played a crucial role in shaping Kerala's history and culture, with Hinduism holding dominance until the arrival of Christianity and Islam. The book explores the various religious influences in the region and their profound impact on the way of life. Christianity, in particular, has left a lasting imprint on Kerala's culture, which is still evident today.
Kerala's unique culture is shaped not only by its religious aspects but also by its political, social, philosophical, and spiritual dimensions. The region has witnessed the rule of different authorities, including the enduring influence of British colonialism. The book sheds light on the struggles faced by the people under British supremacy, including acts of violence and crimes perpetrated against them.
The heritage and traditions of Kerala have been passed down through generations, and the book provides a comprehensive understanding of the community, their way of life, and their beliefs. It delves into the rituals and moral codes deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric of the people. Kerala's cuisine, known for its utilization of bananas, beef, coconut, and fish as staple ingredients, is renowned. The book also explores the vibrant and colorful traditional clothing that reflects the region's cultural identity.

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⁃ A Detailed Introduction
⁃ A Comprehensive Chapter by Chapter Summary
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Francis Thomas