The Role Of Women In Nair And Lahiri's 'Namesake'

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By portraying women that find themselves in extraordinary situations at various points of their lives, Nair and Lahiri-whose novel does not focus primarily on women-challenge the traditional roles Indian women, are ascribed. Most of the women they depict in their novels are particularly strong women who are determined to fight for themselves no matter what. Doing so, they often break the codes the society has imposed on them, either deliberately or as a side effect. Crossing the lines of what is and what is not allowed in human relationships is what Nair's novel examines, as well as the consequences that it brings for all who are involved either directly or indirectly. The characters in “Namesake” are strong women who fight for their rights and are prepared to face the consequences. None of them is, however, able to imagine how different-and much crueler-the real consequences can be from what they expect. There is a great discrepancy between what they imagine would be an appropriate punishment if they cross the lines and what they really have to face when they do. What might seem to be a normal behaviour to a Western woman can have literally lethal consequences if performed by a South Indian middle class woman, acting on a whim or following one's dreams regardless of what the others may say is a behaviour that not only is not tolerated, but is punished rather severely. Also in “Mistress” there are a number of women who decide to follow their dreams and thus cross the line of what an appropriate behaviour for a woman is. Nonetheless, the novel focuses rather on the introspective of the characters than on the reactions their social environment. Two women stand out from the crowd especially, namely Saadiya and Radha. The characters ... ... middle of paper ... ...ian experts who attribute all the sufferings of subalterns to colonial rule and western culture. And further from her depiction we can also see that in her understanding the modernization of India not only means the reassessment of colonial rule and its leftover but also the re-examination of their own tradition which is cherished by the nationalists. Anita Nair’s women characters do not frequently take such a severe step. Here Radha becomes known as the strongest self, though the strength was born out of interruption and lack of expectation. This character has at last liberated her from all the restrictions of marriage, the ‘honourable bondage’ that she was handling with her husband for a long period. The man in the story that is Shyam appears as the most disgraceful character, living with his wife’s assets and at the same time torments her in the name of marriage.

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