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The Struggle of Women: Saving Own Dignity and Integrity

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“A woman should be aware, self-control, strong will, self-reliant and rational, having faith in the inner strength of womanhood. A meaningful change can be brought only from within by being free in the deeper psychic sense.” -Manju Kapur

Being a woman novelist, the writers expresses all aspects of a female, the inner voice, sentimentality of a woman, depression, frustration, feeling of dominate over some one, the hope of achieving aim, the happiness and sorrow, the patriotic feeling, the maternal instinct and all feminine quality. Meanwhile, the women writers came to existence after 1960s has become power structures in the society, male domination, social practices and social institutions, which they are assigning a marginalized position to women. Feminist theory also devises the strategies to transform the social structures, which can help in the emancipation. The strong wave in the 1960s and 1970s helped to theories a woman’s discourse. Due to that, Amrita Pritam’s novel renders her imaginative longing for the human alliance. She is an writer who could strike the affectability of inflexible authorities and conventionalist. She manages the complex extents of life. Her accounts delineate an exceptional psychoanalytical acumen of ordered existences of people. The novel depicts the socio-social, ethnic, familial and religious issues opposing with her affectability. The characters she depicted can’t be separated as level or round, established or present day. They are people genuine to their encounters of life. Amrita Pritam infers the viewpoint and frame of mind of women as a rule. She resounds the strong misery of women in her novel. She verbalizes the expressive encounters, the disaster in the lives of women.

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Her anecdotal out-put is submersed with her female respectability. She depicts woman as a struggler and a developing victor in her works. Amrita as a writer composed novels which shows a broad collection of social, social and psychological explanation. Various concerns connected to womanlike integrity have been followed in her novel, for example, adorance, marriage, separate, social taboos and hesitance, mercilessness and severity towards the female sex, calamity of still, small voice and morals. Amrita’s novels are significantly assessed from the purpose of female uprightness, where every one of the worries get related to the issue of quandary of heart and ethics. She can dive profound into the mind of her female characters and comprehend them with empathy and compassion. Amrita Pritam appears to be amazingly entranced in examining the social establishment through the heroes of her novel. She is reluctant to recognize the generaliza-tion and impossible portrayal, and delineates the social stipulation, upset mind and difficulty of Indian women. Her central quality is human connections, the existential throbbing and enduring of women. The topics in her novels recreate the inward universe of her characters. She projects a multicolored image of her characters’ minds. She is an author who strenuous on the outer world as well as on the internal universe of her characters. Her novels exhibit the inventive expectation of the womanlike integrity, the inner substances and clairvoyant resonations of her characters. Amrita Pritam has an uncommon motivation for high bore and equitable woman, not at all like the generalization upstanding women in India who is tame and philanthropic. Women in her novel exemplify assorted class of natural worth. In spite of the fact that they experience enduring they take a situation to liberate themselves. Amrita Pritam’s anecdotal women roast acters offer approaches to free the all-encompassing overpowering groan of a female mind. They portray the tormenting story of human connections.

The portrayal of female uprightness is a penetrating strain in all Amrita Pritam’s works. Amrita’s fitness to spot-light on the uprightness of her hero is found in her novel like The Skeleton, The Closed Door, Earth, Sea and Shells, and The Aerial. In her novel, Amrita Pritam has wandered significantly into the female mind where she finds the disposition and extent of the experience of womenfolk. Amrita’s clear describing of occurrences is dappled by the piercing pressure and sane articulation. She is generally regarded for her broad position and exact articulation of a sharp woman’s fluctuations, at a separation from her significant subjectivity. In her novel, she showed women from all the favored, uneducated, provincial and urban classes. Her women characters are uncovered as the fatalities of their outer and inward battle. As an inventive author, every one of her works reproduce the human predicament, prevalently as observed entirely through the view of a woman. Her novel is an elective mode to catch the disarrays, logical inconsistencies and bind of the presence of women in the imaginative common, advanced society straddling medieval principles with the problem of the post-mechanical social condition. This observes an expansion of her awareness as well as her embitterment with the utopias exhibited by the new plan and doctrines. She executes assignment of continuing intensity for social equity alongside her revocation to bargain the uprightness of her perception about women. Among her uncommon work in this type The Skeleton is extraordinarily exemplified which manage the social milieu of the woman anguish and affliction increased by the segment and its brutalized outcomes.

In later novel, The Closed Door, Earth, Sea and Shells, and The Aerial the unmistakable quality exchanges to man-woman connections in all the delighted points of interest of their responded achievement of each other lastly records of their irritation from one another with the ensu-ing dullness and intelligence of craziness. Amrita Pritam novel is crazy without a romantic tale being as the point of convergence of it, and she couldn’t intensely reflect about human life or mankind, without concerning it to cherish. Her compositions draw out woman’s anguish and her pitiable condition in a male-bullheaded society. The theme of her compositions is to stand up to life in the entirety of its trouble with all one’s power. Her compositions overflow with adoration for entire mankind. Amrita’s composing is apparently wealthy in affectability and craftsmanship and exhibits a complexity and helplessness which are in a general sense female. In her accounts and novels Amrita has confined the position of man and society who are responsible for every one of the tribulations of woman. She, in her composing uncovers that more than any other person women themselves frustrate the course of woman’s liberation and development. In the novel of the sixties, in The Closed Door and The Aerial, the women scorch actors practice Amrita’s own words, had ‘the boldness to overlook and destroy the present and manufacture another future, the mettle to rearrange dreams like cards before they are managed out’ (TRS, p 35).

These women are the women of things to come, totally free of the old honesty and social gauges. It anticipates as she has predicted fifty years ahead of time and proffers the fantasies as veracity. Amrita depicts the white collar class women who protect female uprightness to oppose freeing them from the custom bound society. Amrita designs women who have turned out to be gifted at, to certify them effusively, and achieve the totality of the ‘uprightness of self’ where the woman never again requires any help to be herself. Self-esteem and etiquette of self-guide them to clear a way for themselves. Such women characters depicted in this part are Kammi, Chetna, Pooro and Annie. Their triumph is hesitant for themselves as they speak to the extreme picture of the hole woman.

Those rich parents have snatched the child from Mamta and sent her out of their house. Amrita projects the conditions of women’s life which goes against their control. For instance Mamta in Doctor day Mamta was unable to rebel against the society to defend her love and finally she had to suffer physically, emotionally and psychologically. She philosophizes to Jagdish, “We’re all pawns in the hands of God. We take ‘actions’ but we’ve no control over them. Therefore, we’re not responsible for our actions, whether they’re right or wrong” ((DD, p 7). Her representations of ‘pawn denotes the condition and victimization of all women under patriarchy. She also states, “we’re mere tools, the action lies with the society, the cruel society which has crushed my love under its feet For when the whirlwind strikes nothing can escape. It seeks in and destroys everything that comes on its way” (DD, p 8). Mamta confesses the society has been very powerful, inflexible, traditional and mighty. Women have been chained and victimized by the status, social norms, prestige, caste and dignity of the family. A woman is controlled by these categories and brought down by bringing down the freedom and existence of a woman but a man is always liberated to satisfy his needs and pursue his love. Marriage always brings alteration in a woman’s life. A woman’s life has to accept to the changes or else life becomes horrible and not worth living. More changes await Pooro.in Terahwan suraj. One is that Rashida got Pooro to tattoo the new name on her arm. A new name, a new identity, ‘Hamida’ was inscribed on her skin and also called by all. Here Pooro, the Hindu girl, loses her identity, as a Muslim convert she is Hamida and it is a forced conversion. She is taken for granted and has to admit and regulate to all the changes that come in her life. A woman’s integrity is expected to accommodate a drastic change but with Pooro it was not possible easily. Though she is Hamida by day, she is Pooro in her dreams. “In her dreams when she met her old friends and played with them in her parents’ home, everyone still called her Pooro. It is a double life for her; Hamida by day, and Pooro by night” (TS, p 11).

This double identity is a trouble as it leaves a woman with no single identity, no real self. It gives no tranquillity or satisfaction. In turn, Pooro maintains her feminine integrity to enforce sisterhood by saving the other women characters in the novel. Amrita depicts the anguish of displacement, adaptation; and establishes that it is extremely greater and powerful for women than it is for men. Pooro is displaced from home, family, society, culture and even creed which resulted into the thrashing of identity and slavish survivalism. Women confining to the safe home is the conventional women’s mind and tendency but Amrita through Pooro brings the feminine sensibility of motherhood and sisterhood. Most of the women characters in Amrita become surrogates. Pooro ex-tends her motherly concern to another character Kammo, who is treated badly by her step-mother. Pooro spends most of her time with Kammo to relieve her from the grief striker situation. Kammo and Pooro share very strong bondage. Pooro along with Kammo try to help Taro, who lives next door from the ill – treating husband. In tradition bound society, Amrita through these characters tries to maintain dignity for the better survival. Taro has been affected by deadly disease, Pooro encourages her to maintain the health to keep up the motherly affection for her children. Taro regrets “when parents give away a daughter in marriage, they put a noose round her neck and hand the other end of the rope to the man of their choice a women has to get used to every kind of sufferings when a girl is given away in marriage, God deprives her of her tongue, so that she may not complain” (TS, p 36). Amrita portrays the feminine sensibility of pure love and longing in Earth, Sea and Shell, she has brought out the true character of Anvari, feminine sensibility is observed in the following lines:

The suffering that a woman has to bear is never over. This is a grave injustice that woman have been suffering in the male dominant society. Anvari was not accepted as a wife by the rich man and years later too she was not accepted as a mother. The man had escaped free though he had committed a heinous crime, but the woman had to bear the burnt of the cross. (ESS, p 110)

The respect and value that a married woman gets in society is not the same that an unwed mother could hope for. Anvari suffered from her young age. Amrita in her another novel The Aerial (1978) has portrayed the most enlightened and sophisticated feminine character named Annie. Sharma (1999) accords, “she stands for her honesty, courage subjecting themselves to the most hazardous experiments in unconventional and uncompromised emotional living” (TA, p 130). The aim of Amrita’s women characters is not to merely live, but to find the way to live in love, truth without subjecting themselves to the others, and keep up utmost dignity and emotional purity. Annie also has been tormented mentally and her integrity has been challenged constantly. Anwar always loved her bleakness as a ‘broken woman’ more than her original character. Anwar although tries to convince her ‘Historic Beauty’ she firmly, states and corrects it to ‘pre-historic beauty’ which is not bound to any tradition and culture. Anwar makes all the attempt to make her weak and tries to hurt her from the start. Amrita’s women characters in remembrance of things past, relinquish their hopes for present or future happiness, “My hands are empty, I’ve lost everything I had”(9) they whisper, and there is always a slight tinge of regret palpable in their clenched teeth attempts to find the remedies for their secret sorrows. They despair, but never lack in courage or dignity, as they draw out their existence in a continuous state of tension and intense soul-searching. They can be projected only through a direct transcription of their consciousness.

Amrita Pritam, as an outstanding woman writer of her age, dared to achieve in life what she portrayed in her novel. Amrita’s women, who surge forth to search for truth – the truth of their moral existence have the self-knowledge that their life would be difficult and tortured. They know that persona life would be shattered, and society would treat them as pariahs because they had dared to question its norms. The women in Amrita’s novels have a honesty and candidness that the men sadly lack. Meenakshi Mukherjee explains, the novel of this period, “has turned intr ospective and the individual’s quest for a personal meaning in life has become a theme of urgent interest for the Indo – Anglian writer” (2). On the other hand, in the context of the woman novelist, Kamala Markandaya draws the picture of different roles of woman as – wife, daughter, sister, teacher and mother. She is a novelist who shows the motherly touch in a mother through her characters. The motherly touch as love, affection, tenderness, kindness, are to be seen in the characters like Rukmani, “Nectar in a Sieve”, Mannikam’s wife, “Two Virgins”, Nalini and Thangam, “A Handful of Rice”, and Sarojini, “A Silence of Desire”,. Rest of the novels lack in the description of mother. In her paper on “The Images of Woman in Hindi Novels”, Dr. Aruna Sitesh, confining herself to post – independence novels, writes about revolutionary changes during the last fifty years. Most writers still see woman basically in the role of an ideal wife and mother. Although everyone agrees that women’s exploitation should be stopped, the validity of the institution of marriage has not been questioned. Markandaya portrays the picture of mother only in four novels. Her mother characters have the motherly qualities like love, affection and modesty. Her mother is fortitude, facing difficulties and problems in life but never hopeless. Rukmani, Ira and Kunti are the main female characters. Rukmani is mother of six children. Being a mother, she takes care of children, teaches them as what she knows. She thinks – “When my child is r eady, ‘I thought now, “I will teach him too; and I practiced harder than ever lest my fingers should loss their skill” (04). But for Nathan she is an influence because he seeks in her peace, comfort and love. It is true that she is the mother figure in the novel.

The embodiment of such a mother figure is found in Rukmani in Kamala Markandaya’s “Nectar in a Sieve”. The single force that unites the whole structure of the novel is the character of the narrator Rukmani. She is not simply a village girl, a loving and devoted wife and a sacrificing mother. She has transcended these limited physical identifies to represent the universal mother figure. Kamala Markandaya has not confined Rukmani to any particular class, creed or convention. She is conceived as the encompassing, enduring, devoted, sacrificing, suffering, loving and forgiving mother figure. Woman shapes her personality by a careful cultivation of certain virtues. Her strength lies essentially in her innate capacity for compassion and sacrifice. This strength may not be a match for man’s physical might. Yet her influence on man is indeed great. He seeks in her love and peace, comfort and solace. Woman finds her utmost fulfillment in motherhood and that is her greatest achievement too. Rukmani is the axis, the immovable, affirmative force around whom all the other characters in the novel revolve. She has no illusion in life, is disturbed by no desire or longing, her support does not waver. Rukmani is ever ready, ever attentive, to stoop, to render, to extend her eager heart to the person in need. Rukmani has given birth and has known the intimate, umbilical bond of love that ties her to her children. She is constantly vexed by her failure to feed them. But when she finds Raja beaten to death, his limp, fragile body lain at her feet, her grief knows no bounds. The intensity of her sorrow and misery leaves her speechless.

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