'Smoke' and 'The First Party' display two points of view on the
continuing conflict between traditional and modern values. In Indian
culture, tradition holds the highest status of importance possible,
second only to, or perhaps next to, religion. Indian traditions and
culture is one of the oldest in the world, arising from 5000 BC.
Perhaps this is why modern Indians find it so hard to comply with
traditional rules and regulations a they were set in and for the
people and civilizations of an ancient time.
But indeed there still exist beings in the forms of grandparents and
great - grand parents who try and uphold their sanskars and paramparas
(traditions and cultures) and defend them against those who desire
change. Perhaps this is why India, though one of the fastest growing
economies in the world, is finding it hard to change when it comes to
matters of customs and beliefs.
The two stories 'Smoke' and 'The First Party' have an ongoing
conflict, but I feel they both represent different sides of the same
story. They both present to the readers, women who are trying to cross
the boundaries into the modern and liberal world of the west. Their
reactions and struggles are varied, with one longing to escape while
the other scared and aggressive at the change. This difference can
also be seen as the struggle for change versus the defiance against
I think the difference in attitudes towards tradition is most
evidently shown in the attitudes of the central characters in the two
stories. Shubha in 'Smoke' is introduced with an ...
... middle of paper ...
...tive and dramatic words. Words like 'vulgar',
'disgusting', and 'shameful' are in a sense rather disturbing. Her
descriptions are vibrant with colour - 'claws dipped in blood',
'sarclet'- as opposed to the dry rather drab colouring in 'Smoke'.
Perhaps this kind of language is used to show the aggressive views and
opinions of a generation obsessed with tradition.
In 'Smoke' Shubha's descriptions are deep yet tiring. Words like 'the
oppressive, tormenting afternoon' and 'hollow neutral vacuum' are
quite dreary and listless. Also in this story I did not find many
words that sparked action. All the action and movement in this story
is forced and habitual an so it looses its effect. There is not much
colour. When flowers are talked about in the beginning, they are 'dry'
and 'dead'. Lifeless perhaps like her own existence.
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