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Naalukettu Review: Unveiling the Legacy of Tradition and Turmoil


Written by M.T Vasudevan Nair, Naalukettu is a masterpiece book in Malayalam literature that features the story of a middle-aged man who reiterates the nostalgia of his past life. M.T Vasudevan Nair is one of the greatest authors of Malayalam literature, and he is renowned for his contribution to Indian literature winning Jnanpith, the country's most prestigious literary award. The novel Naalukettu was published in the year 1958 and has since become an iconic piece of work in Indian literature. In this review, we are going to dive deep into the world of Naalukettu, highlighting the themes, styles, and characters that make it an exceptional work of art.



For starters, the Naalukettu book has a rich and vivid style of writing that brings the story to life. The author uses words and phrases that are descriptive and paint a picture of the surroundings and the characters. Vasudevan Nair also takes his time to develop the story, and as such, the reader can track the characters' lives over an extended period. The story is narrated in the first person, and the protagonist, Appunni - a young boy, introduces the readers to his world and family members. Vasudevan's impeccable style of writing captures the Indian culture, traditions, and ways of life, and portrays it in such a delightful manner that the reader is transported into the story.


Naalukettu is riddled with various themes that bring out the essence of Indian culture, tradition, and beliefs. One prominent theme in the book is the notion of patriarchy and the role that women play in society. The author brings out the gender-based roles assigned to women in Indian society, such as being submissive and taking care of family matters. The women in the book are portrayed as secondary beings whose opinions and thoughts are of lesser importance compared to those of men. Hence, the author highlights how this kind of approach is detrimental to society and its progress.

Another significant theme that transpires in the Naalukettu book is the role of education in changing the world. The protagonist, Appunni, is keen on acquiring knowledge and being educated, a concept that was not prevalent in his time. Vasudevan Nair uses the story to illustrate how education equals power and how it can be a tool for change in any society.

The book also explores the theme of family bond and duty. According to the Indian culture, duty and responsibility to one's family are paramount. In the book, the protagonist, like any other Indian, is responsible for his family's well-being and is tasked to take care of them. This theme is woven around several aspects of the book creating a beautiful tapestry of culture.



The characters in Naalukettu are robust and engaging. The protagonist, Appunni, is a young boy riddled with dreams and aspirations, eager to make his mark in the world. The reader takes a journey with Appunni as he navigates through childhood and adolescence, facing challenges and betrayals along the way.

The other characters in the book are also memorable, each bringing a unique perspective to the story. From Appunni's mother to his sisters, each character in Naalukettu plays its role in the story accurately. The members of Appunni's family are a tight-knit unit, and their bond is reinforced by their traditions and culture.


In conclusion, the Naalukettu book is an iconic piece of work in Indian literature. It is a masterpiece that brings forth the beauty of the Indian culture, traditions, and beliefs. The book is captivating, well-written, and takes the reader on a journey through the protagonist's life, Appunni. The style of writing is eloquent, descriptive, and well-structured, and the characters in the book are well-developed, memorable, and play their respective roles accurately. The themes explored in Naalukettu such as education, patriarchy, and family bond and duty resonate with the readers, making it a must-read book. Overall, Naalukettu is a compelling work of literature, and any reader who picks it up will undoubtedly become intrigued by the story, characters, and themes therein.

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