The predicament of women, their institutional subjection and freedom have been the major concerns of Indian women novelists since the 1960s. Their initial attempts were to challenge the ideal of the traditional, oppressed women in a culture permeated by religious images of virtuous goddesses devoted to their husbands. Gradually however, women writers have moved away from the stereotypical portrayals of enduring self-sacrificing women towards psychically perturbed female characters searching for identity, asserting their individuality and defying marriage and motherhood. Anita Desai and Bharathi Mukherjee, two prominent contemporary writers in Indian English literature, have made significant efforts to give voice to Indian women’s unvoiced resentments. Many writers of Indian diaspora engage the complexities of modern culture from a feminine perspective, while highlighting the Indian female predicament of maintaining self-identity in a male-dominated society.
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Manju Kapur, as a keen observer, explores many aspects of feminine sensibilities in her novel, Difficult Daughters. The novel can be considered as an earnest effort to portray the various nuances of women’s psyche and especially of those women who do not wish to be encoded even by the deceptively trivial bonding of male supremacy. In the novel Virmati and Ida rebel against the existing traditional roles preordained for a woman. In spite of belonging to different generations both show an unmistakable urge of self- actualization. Through Virmati’s and Ida’s private and intimate experiences, Manju Kapur has boldly handled even radical themes.
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New York: Columbia University Press. 1986. 229-48. Kolodny, Annette. “A Map for Rereading: or, Gender and the Interpretation of Literary Texts” New Literary History 11, no.
1983 Kadish, Doris. The Literature of Images: Narrative Landscape from Julie to Jane Eyre. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1986. Linder, Cynthia A. Romantic Imagery in the Novels of Charlotte Bronte.
‘Image of Woman in Indo-Anglican Novel’, Sterling Publishers Pvt., Ltd., 1979. Dhawan, R.K. ed ‘Indian Literature Today’. New Delhi: Prestige Books, 1994. Iyengar, K. R. S. ‘Indian Writing in English’ , New Delhi : Sterling Publication, 1985.
Ambiguous Women: The Power of the Female Narrative I do not wonder that men have always felt threatened by strong women. Male insecurity is manifest in the patriarchal infrastructure of society and its enforcement of gender roles that require female submission to the male model. In her book, Writing a Woman's Life, Caroline Heilbrun quotes Deborah Cameron's sardonic statement, "men can be men only if women are unambiguously women" (16). Heilbrun considers the ambiguous women, those who challenge convention. I've developed a deep appreciation for these ambiguous women, for the power of their narratives.
Macnicol, Margaret,1923, ed. Poems by Indian Women, Calcutta: Association Press. Rumens, Carol, 1985,ed. Making For the open: The Chatto Book of Post-Feminist Poetry 1964-84, London: Chatto and Windus Publications.