Githa Hariharan’s The Thousand Faces of Night

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Post Midnight’s Children Indian novel in English has attained a respectable position throughout the world. Post God of Small Things the number of women novelists from India have increased. However, the literary scene occupied by their male counterparts is quite different. Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, Upmanyu Chatterjee to name a prominent few focus on the issues that lie ‘externally’. The women novelists have restricted themselves mostly to the ‘interior’ of the body or house they live in and their relationships with the people living around. Their narrations are about family. Shalini Shah (2008:04) reasons out and says, ‘This asymmetry in the emotional response of men and women occurs in a patriarchal set-up where children are primarily raised by women’. Women are in search of their own identities. Women are passive victims of patriarchy. In The Thousand Faces of Night (TFN from now onwards) Githa Hariharan depicts the thousand faces of women in India from Past to present ranging from Sita, Gandhari, Ambika, Amba (TFN: 249) to Devi in TFN. These faces depict the multiple roles the women have to play in the society. They try to perform and balance all the roles but are not satisfied with roles they are playing. They are still searching for self-identity. Tales and legends play a crucial role in introducing a child to his society. (Kakkar, 2007: 37). There are myth makers or readers (Pati and Baba) and a myth consumer/ receiver (Devi) Influenced by the way the myth readers decipher the myth, the myth consumers spends her life interpreting the myth around her. All through her childhood Devi grew up listening to her grandmother’s stories. Her grandmother’s stories had a purpose to telling Devi- a woman- the ways to behave in a tradi...

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