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Struggling to Find a Voice. Women’s Position in Hindu Tradition and The Novels of Shashi Deshpande
GRIN Verlag
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97 pp.
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Struggling to Find a Voice. Women’s Position in Hindu Tradition and The Novels of Shashi Deshpande ebook: PDF

Master's Thesis from the year 2014 in the subject English - Literature, Works, grade: 1,0, University of Tubingen (Englisches Seminar), language: English, abstract: The South Asian country of India immediately evokes an array of preconceptions in the Western mind: be it the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, of extreme poverty and extreme wealth, of colours, fragrances and spices, of the holy cow and its connected cultural and spiritual richness, or of Bollywood. Nowadays, however, the media focuses more and more on one issue: India’s ill treatment of women. This master's thesis by the title of ‘Struggling to Find a Voice’ will be composed of two major pillars: women’s position in Hindu tradition and the study of two novels of Shashi Deshpande. The first part will focus on the changing role of Hindu women throughout Indian history, from its beginnings in the Vedic times until today. The paper intends to address the most important stages in what could be called a rollercoaster of prohibitions, submission and rights: from a quasi-equal position in ancient India, to a slave-like existence in the Middle Ages, a dawn of hope during the British Raj and the post-Independence period, up until recent events and struggles. As Deshpande’s protagonists, Saru and Jaya, both belong to the Hindu middle-class, the historical overview will concentrate first and foremost on Hindu women. The insights gained in the first part will then provide the backbone for the analysis of the novels to follow. The second part will be an in-depth analysis of Shashi Dehpande’s novels The Dark Holds No Terrors (1980) and That Long Silence (1988). Both of the two novels’ protagonists, Saru and Jaya, form part of the educated, Indian middle-class and are – because of their sex – caught between the traditional, orthodox image of a Hindu housewife and the modern, ‘Western’, concepts of emancipation and equality. The paper intends to examine how they struggle to come to terms with this fragmentation of their selves and how they find a balance between their traditional roles as a housewife and mother and their own ‘modern’ expectations. The relationship of being silent to oppressing one’s own identity will be looked at more closely, as well as the factors which help them to raise their voices in the end. Finally, the conclusion will not only summarise the findings, but also link the first part of this Masterarbeit with the second part under the heading ‘Struggling to Find a Voice’.

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