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Subalterned females in Desai’s ‘Fasting, Feasting’

Uploaded by subarna24 on Nov 08, 2004

The works of writers from India deal with numerous concerns. Postcolonial concerns rank high among writers like Anita Desai, Mulk Raj Anand, R.K. Narayan and other leading authors. These writers express their thoughts and ideologies on the postcolonial situation using concerns like nationhood and nationalism, resistance and representation and feminist postcolonialism. This essay titled Subalterned females in Desai’s ‘Fasting, Feasting’ is an analysis of two vital postcolonial concerns, namely feminism and postcolonialism in the novel written by Anita Desai. Taking into account the assumption that the writer is dead, this analysis will be focused upon the characters and events that take place in the novel. As the analysis deals with the issue of feminist postcolonialism, the essay will encompass the subalternity of female characters from a postcolonial context.

As mentioned earlier, the main concern of the analysis is the examination of the sublaterned position of female characters in Fasting, Feasting. The subalterned position of the female characters will be analysed via elements like patriarchal constructs, societal and cultural constructs as well as religious constructs. Establishing the notion that the female characters in the novel are oppressed by the males, I will go on to examine the manner in which the female characters try to resist against their oppressors. In addition to this, I will also analyse the reason they (female characters) fail to resist the oppressive nature of the male characters. This analysis will focus upon the subalternity of Uma and Mama by Papa and the Hindu society at large. The subjugation of other female characters like Aruna, Anamika and Mrs. Patton will also be dealt with in the course of the analysis.

Before delving into the analysis, it would only be appropriate to define two key concepts that play a vital role in the study, i.e. subaltern and patriarchy. Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin in their book Key Concepts in Post-Colonial Studies define subaltern as someone who is of ‘inferior rank. It refers to those groups in society who are subject to the hegemony of the ruling classes’. (Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin: 1998: 215) Subaltern classes may include ‘ groups denied access to ‘hegemonic power’. (Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin: 1998: 215) In subaltern studies in South Asia, this term is used ‘as a name for the general attributes of subordination in South Asian society whether this is expressed in terms of class, caste, age and gender. (Ashcroft, Griffiths and...

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Uploaded by:   subarna24

Date:   11/08/2004

Category:   Literature

Length:   20 pages (4,496 words)

Views:   4470

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