Women´s Literature: The First Promise by Ashapurna Debi Essay

Women´s Literature: The First Promise by Ashapurna Debi Essay

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The primary question that comes up while we look at a certain text is the way in which the author has exercised the choice in terms of narrative modes, and the ways in which the imaginative world is communicated to the reader. In case of writers who are women, these questions demand a more rigorous reading of the text in terms of the dominant ideological frame against which the test is displayed. Speaking about the complex relationship between women’s writing and the social matrix, Tharu and Lalitha point out that, in the post independence era Indian women engaged with “the profound rearticulation of the political world and of imaginative life that took place in the 1940s and 1950s with the birth of the Indian nation” 1. The term “rearticulation” implies the presence of a system of articulation, a matrix of meta-narratives not concerned only with women as objects of gaze but also with women as agents of articulating their subjectivity, with women as writers. In problematising the position of the narrator one may hope to detect the negotiations, debates, protests and above all, the choices available to and exercised by a female writer.
The first thing that one would notice about Ashapurna Debi’s The First Promise is the position of the narrator with respect to the central character Satyabati. The narrative process is neither a third person objective rendering, nor a first person subjective one where the narrator is usually an intricate part of the narration. In Bakhtinian terms, the narrative goes beyond the monologic framework and even beyond a dialogic one (exposing a variety of narratorial, authorial and characterial voices dismantling temporal boundaries) to expand into a transgenerational polylogic level. The voice ...


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...Harcourt, 2000.
Debi, Ashapurna. The First Promise. Trans. Indira Cowdhury. New Delhi: Orient
Longman, 2004.
--- Subarnalata. Trans. Gopa Majumdar. Chennai: Macmillan, 1997.
--- Bakulkatha. Calcutta: Mitra and Ghosh, 1974.
Eagleton, Mary, ed. Feminist Literary Theory: A Reader. Cornwall: Blackwell, 1996.
Genette, Gerard. Narrative Discourse. New York: Cornell University Press, 1980.
Sarkar, Tanika. Hindu Wife Hindu Nation. 2001. New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2007.
Tharu, Susie, and K. Lalitha, eds. Women Writing in India: 600 B.C. to the Early
Twentieth Century Volume Two: The 20th Century. New York: Feminist Press,
1993.
Verma, Dominique S., and T.V. Kunhi Krishnan, eds. Memories of the Second Sex. Mumbai:
Somaiya Publications, 2000.














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