Family Matters Essay Example

The character that I decided to write about in terms of character development throughout the book “Family Matters” by Rohinton Mistry was Nariman Vakeel. Nariman was a Parsi widower who was in love with his former, non Parsi lover, Lucy. However, due to different religious backgrounds, Nariman could not marry Lucy and married a woman that shared the same Parsi background. At the beginning of the novel, Nariman lives in an apartment with his stepchildren, Jal and Coomy, who take care of him due to him having Parkinson’s disease. Jal and Coomy then kick him out of the apartment to then live with his biological daughter, Roxana. 

Ever since he first moved in to Roxana’s apartment, things started to fall apart in Roxana’s family. For example, the money that he had to cover his pension, unfortunately did not cover his medical insurance. Because of this, he had to rely on his family to help. Even his grandson, Jehangir would accept bribes at school as the hall monitor and would slip money in the envelope for his mother. Also, Yezad, Nariman’s son in law gambled their food money just to help Nariman pay his health insurance. A quote that shows Yezad’s struggle to take care of his father in law is on page 248. It states “I’ve never asked you to help me! Can’t you at least help Pappa when I’m out?” then the quote continues by saying “I told you the day the chief came here, I warned the boys also-no touching the bedpan or bottle.” This quote is showing Yezad’s outburst on having to take care of Nariman and just in general how it is making the family stressed out.  

Basically, throughout the beginning and middle of the novel, Nariman was very dependent of his family to help him. Ever since he got diagnosed with his disease, he has been this way. He was also thinking too much of the past. It seemed as if he truly never stopped loving his first love, Lucy. Don’t get me wrong, he did love Jal and Coomy’s mother, however one way it showed how he still remembers and still loves Lucy is on page 69. It starts by saying “Old friends, he knew them well, keeping him company in the hours he had spent holding them while looking out the window, waiting for Lucy.”  The quote continues by saying “One day when we were young,’” he half-hummed, half-imagined the words of a song, ‘”one wonderful morning in May. You told me you love me, when we were young one day”’.  

This was said after Jal and Coomy put him to bed. He was told that Roxanna, his biological daughter and her family were coming over to visit. It seems that once he got the news, he was probably wondering what it would have been like if he could marry Lucy, and not Jal and Coomy’s mother. What would have life been like if Roxanna was not born or that he never knew Jal and Coomy? Would he have been a happier man? Maybe.  

However, I believe that he is appreciative of his stepchildren, daughter, and rest of the family for helping him as his illness grew worse. However, this was his personality in the beginning of the novel, maybe middle of it as well.  As the novel progresses, Nariman becomes increasingly silent. Towards the end, he is shut away from his family in his old room with the ayah, or at home nurse. Finally, after weeks of pain and family drama that he had to endure, he dies.  

In conclusion, Rohinton Mistry did an excellent job by killing off Nariman. Sure, he did not survive throughout the entire book, but he was able to no longer deal with his family, especially Coomy complaining about having to take care of him. I mean talk about selfishness right there. Also, like the quote that was stated, all Nariman wanted throughout the novel was to be with Lucy. Yes, she was able to visit him before he died, and she did later kill herself. However, now that he died, and so did she, they are able to reunite again.  Also, I believe everyone can agree that passing away is better than having to live with a disease.  

But I always wondered what the novel would’ve been like if Nariman didn’t have the disease in the first place. Would he have survived throughout the entire novel? Would he not have made Roxanna’s family life a living hell? Would Coomy and Jal appreciate him more? No one knows. In my opinion, Jal and Coomy would still have to take care of him, despite him having the disease or not.  

However, he probably would not have to move in with Roxanna and her family. So, the novel would have been a lot different if Nariman was not diagnosed with this disease. Maybe if Lucy did not die, and neither did Nariman, they would have been able to reunite and fall in love again, considering that Jal and Coomy’s mother passed away. Maybe Rohinton Mistry would have been able to give Nariman and Lucy that opportunity. That was probably where Mistry messed up in this novel.  

The fact that he easily kills off characters in a way that was so useless really makes the reader, meaning me in this case angry. Considering that Nariman died due to a disease, and Lucy killed herself shortly after visiting Nariman seems unfair. Maybe Nariman should have confessed to her right before he died that he still loved her. That would have made the story a bit more epic than suicide and disease. But I guess Mistry wanted a more realistic approach, and not make it a sappy love story between to lost lovers who in the end, could not marry in the first place.



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