Two Themes In Arranged Marriage By Chira Divakaruni

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In her book Arranged Marriage, Chitra Divakaruni repeatedly uses several themes to convey her abhorrence of the institution that is arranged marriages. The short stories she wrote were all full of misery and suffering. The four stories that show-case her distain toward this idea of mandatory monogamy are “The Bats”, “Clothes”, “The Maid Servant’s Story”, and “The Disappearance”. The three predominate themes in these four tales of tragedy are abuse, both physical and psychological, a lack of respect for women, and tragic endings. The four stories showcase these negative results of and show Chitra Divakaruni’s animosity toward arranged marriage. The first story, “The Bats”, immediately shows one of the negative effects of arranged marriages and…show more content…
In “The Bats”, “The Maid Servant’s Story”, and “The Disappearance” the wives were given little to no respect by their husbands and families. In “The Bats” the mother was abused by her husband, a clear sign that he did not respect her. He also lied to her in his letter when he promised not to abuse her anymore but did after she returned. In “The Maid Servant’s Story” there was disrespect of both Sarala and the wife. Sarala’s husband and mother disrespected her by forcing her into prostitution. The husband showed a severe lack of respect for both his wife and Sarala when he tried to have sex with Sarala after his wife is sent to the hospital after she fell ill. His infidelity shows his lack of respect for his wife and his promise to be loyal to her. The husband’s refusal to stop when Sarala begged for him to stop and his justification that “once a whore, always a whore” (144) shows how little he thought of her a person. In “The Disappearance” the husband raped his wife and justified it by saying she was “… a well-bred Indian girl” (172) and that she should submit to him whenever he wants sex. He also did not respect her enough to allow her to wear the American clothes she wanted, let her go back to college or let her get a job. He claimed he was just being firm, a lie he told himself to cover his guilt. He was in denial of his disrespectful behavior. The women of in Arranged Marriage were usually not treated with respect by their families and husbands. This problem of disrespect is just a single aspect of the negative nature of arranged marriages. The three predominate themes in Arranged Marriage, abuse, tragic endings, and a lack of respect, illustrate how toxic the environment formed through arranged marriages can be. Divakaruni uses these themes in the short stories in Arranged Marriage to show how a marriage that is not formed

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