Sunlight on a Broken Column shows reflective concern with the individual.Attia Hosain who tries to 'renounce nationalistic and unstable negation, and aims to show the reunion of an individual and a continuous reassessment of values in a Muslim socio-cultural background.' The novel depicts, Laila's confused conflicting system of thought ' on one hand, it produced culture and tradition and the subordination of the individual and on the other hand, the adoption of foreign culture of the west.
The novel portrays the development of the self in Laila, the protagonist. The novel describes the life of the protagonist that starts from the age of fifteen till reaches to motherhood, it has presented the atmosphere of the Muslim culture that is in pre-partition and the post partition days. The novel description make us clearnthat there is a development of the world in which Laila grows.One could see the development in the freedom struggle not only in the political perspective but also from the ordinary human beings.
Culture, is a system that bring about from one generation to another . Culture is partially a symbolic interaction.When a person is born he grows with different aspects of culture. It is these which help us define and interpret the growth into personhood of any individual.
Many psychologists and sociologists have tried to arrive at a definition of the term 'self'. M.Brewster Smith tried to examine the complexity of the term 'I' relation to this novel by using the clarification of selfhood given in his article 'Perspectives on Selfhood.'
Selfhood involves being self aware or reflective, being or having a body ; somehow taking into account, the boundaries of selfhood at birth and death and feeling a continuity and identity in between, placing oneself in a generational sequence and network of other connected selves as forebears and descendants and relatives; being in partial communication and communion with other contemporary selves while experiencing an irreducible separation of experience and identity, engaging in joint and individual enterprises in the world with some degree of forethought and after-thought guiding what one does and appraising what one has done at least partly through reflection on one's performace; feeling responsible, at least sometimes, for one's actions and holding others responsible for theirs;
Memories of her childhood perceptions on her have achieved ultimately 'selfhood.' Her perceptions have changed and there is an emergence of a new awareness ' awareness of her feelings for Assad. 'Was it that I resented and envied his cohesion of thought and action, and therefore could not love him as he wished, seeing him still as an abstraction, not a man.'
It is Asad who always helped Laila since her childhood, adulthood and also in the middle age she has never expressed her attraction towards him perhaps she has yet to discover the true meaning of love. Asad always try to understand her problems and her tensions, sympathized with her, but maintained distance:
Once he had put into words.'What can I do
To make you remember, I am human? It is
not easy to remain fettered by your ideas of
me, I am no saint and never have been
you think of me always as if I were your
idea of me and not myself.'
So it is people's perception about themselves that ought to play a large role in one's personality. In this Sunlight on a Broken Column, we examine the growth of selfhood of Laila.We see through the character of Laila, her opinion on people,her attitude towards Babajan, understanding of herculture and religion.She described herself:
'I felt, I lived in two worlds, an observer in an
Outside world and solitary in my own except when
I was with the friends, I had made in college. Then
The blurred confused double image came near to being once.'
At home she places herself in 'a generational sequence and network of other connected selves.'In Muslim culture, significance given to family kinship and duty towards society rather than towards oneself. Aunt Abida, who brought up the Orphaned Laila, reminds her:
'Never forget the family in which you were born,'
There is nothing you cannot do if you think it your duty. I tried to teach you that.'
'We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control our behavior one must never blunt one's sense of duty.'
When Abida was ill Laila wishes to vist her aunt out of a sense of guilt but Ameer questions her whether it is duty or sentiment that pulls her.
'Should Be? Or want to be'?
'I am so unsure, I feel I'm being selfish,
That I have a duty.'
She yields to her sentiments, because of Ameer's passionate, rational explanation that she has a duty to herself and her own life to live.
'other cannot live it for you, they can be
Selfish too, one has to make a choice, even if it is difficult.'
Ameer seems to be more like submission to a dominant authority figure, because when Ameer reveals his secret thoughts, the decision taken out of her hands and made easier to accept.
Thus reveals the relationship with authoritative figures is important for the development of the self and also of the society. She accepted Aunt Abida and before that Hamid Chacha and now it is Ameer who takes the decision out of her hands. Inthis way, we can see the contrast between the cultural patterns that shape the development of the self in the west and in Muslim culture.
Religion an integral part of culture. It plays an important part in the development of the self. In her childhood, she was taught to recite the Koran five times a day but she never followed and so she feels envious with Zahra. Later she finds both Asad and Zahid having different views on religion, inspite of brothers. Asad, the reformer and the idealist , is a strong believer in the unity of both sects of Muslims and Hindus, where as Zahid do the fasting during Muharram and Ramzan and participate in the celebration of Muharram with decorated tazias an idolatorous practice and in the public demonstration of grief which is again hypocritical. Nadira's remonstration is'Pakistan needs us to build it up as a refuge where all Muslims can be safe and free.' and later her bad tempered defense that 'people do migrate from one country to another,' forces Laila to comment:
'Your ideals and Saleem's prospects harmonise perfectly thank the lord.'
The 'irreducible separation of experience and identity' make her believe in tolerance. Her experience says that Sita's father is an opportunist who joined the freedom movement to make money and get power but her 'communication with contemporary selves' reveals that Laila must learn to separate and identify the various facets of human character. Zahra is flexible in accepting the conventions of whichever society she is in and inflexible in supporting them.'
Her love for Ameer brings some argument which is another aspect of society-status. Ameer is not rich like Laila. Actually her love is considered 'a nakedness to be hidden by each element of my will and feeling' she has to live by having two different views of 'thought and speech and action, often when imagination slipped its guard, the outward life in which Ameer played no part became blurred by the inner one in which only he and I existed.' By marrying Ameer she left her family:
'Cold disapproving eyes, sharp tongues, I could fight them all when the time came when would the time come? How long the days of writing.'
Though she took the step of marrying Ameer she feels guilty but she gets the support of Kemal and Ameer most of the time.
The novel is about the interaction between a continuing social structure and roles that played by the participants in the feudal system. Introduction of other character are for the development of self and consciousness in Laila. Laila's self or experiential self has always been portrayed as being in constant conflict with the external role expectations. Actually her external behaviour did not change though at time we see or find signs of tension.
Thus Attia Hosain justified in showing the position of women in relation to the social structure but also depicted the tensions that occur in the 'self' when confronted with conformity and autonomy.
It is generally assumed that Laila's quest for identity or self-definition is fulfilled in her rebellion against her family and its values at the end of Part three of the novel. Meenakshi mukherjee, for instance, in The Twice-Born fiction thinks that the last section of the novel is extraneous and it makes the novel structurally weak. She observes:
The trouble lies in the confusion of purpose. Does the novelist intend to present from Laila's point of view a picture of men and manners in a particular period of Indian history, or does she intend to present one individual's groping towards self-realisation? If it is the former, then the case history method of the last part has some validity; but if the novel is taken as a personal document the last chapter becomes extraneous.
In the first place, one cannot neatly compartmentalize the personal history of Laila from the social or national history ' in fact what makes sunlight on a broken Column a three-dimensional novel is the manner in which the personal, the social, and the national issues keep interacting and reflecting on one another. Secondly, Laila's quest does not end ' if it at all ever does ' with her marriage to Ameer. If that were the case, the novel would have ended with the happy wedding as most of the novels with love and courtship as their theme end. That Attia Hosain did not choose to end with the marriage suggests that she had other plans than writing a conventional ;love story or giving a romantic interpretation of the purdah motif as most of the popular novels or Hindi films do. What the novel demonstrates is that the subjecthood ' for a person or for a nation ' is a painful process and it does not come without suffering or some sort of loss. The disruption of a settled order, of family relationships and human feelings, is what Attia Hosain characterizes in the last section of the novel. A similar liability of human understanding and life, caused by the throws of partition is echoed on Bapsi Sidhwa's latest novel ice-Candy Man. Set in pre-partition India, in and around Lahore, Bapsi sidhwa also uses a narrator-heroine. The tale is told by an adolescent English girl, Lenny, a detached observer who sees the trauma of partition and separations it entails. The rights and wrongs of partition are debated and argued amongst friends and colleagues of the five main communities of Lahore, the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs Christians and Parsees. Like in Attia Hosain's novel there are endless debates on the merits, de-merits and ethical aspects of partition. However the denouement of Bapsi SIdhwa's novel, Ice-Candy Man is similar to Sunlight on a Broken Column. Both women novelists stress the unavoidable logic of partition which moves on relentlessly leading to friends and families being separated and lost from each other. Bapsi Sidhwa shows that the families and friends who met every evening at Queens park in Lahore are separated forever due to partition. People of different communities, friends and colleagues argue about the impossibility of violence against each other and leaving their homeland. The novel of Bapsi Sidhwa has a sense of humour, at the sametime exposes how the violence of partition has separated the roots of people of different communities, inspire of ideology, friendship and rational beliefs.
Leila's life moves from a girl in the Zeneca to that of an educated woman, who refuses to return home after the death of her husband and decides to live on her own. Amerada Roy says, 'In a society where age-old institutions, customs and attitudes still flourish, Leila's rejection of the values of the pariah system has great significance.'Laila's fight is not just with the external elements of patriarchy but also against the value systems she internalizes in the process of growing up. She is helped by the fact that she is given the benefit of formal education unlike the other women in the household. Laila's exposure to learning changes her attitudes as she begins to question the correctness of each incident that happens. Her confusion between the ideals of education and the lack of freedom of action in real life becomes more articulate as she grows older. The sense of self grows as her earlier learning in the Zenana gets modified to suit her growing sense of individuality.She says, 'Inside me, however, a core of intolerance hardened' (Hosain138), that mocked at the disparity between ideals and practice. She feels constrained by the power of her elders over her life, which prevents her from executing her plans.
As a piece of social documentation' says Menasha Mukherjee, 'the novel is competently written. It is one of the few novels where the partition of India is presented as the enormous event that it was and the narrator being a Muslim, the issues of loyalty, idealism and experience are fraught with a special significance.'
Laila's education and observationof the unhappiness of the women who sacrifices to the needs of family compel her to think innovatively
'I knew then that understanding was impossible between
Us.She was part of a way of thinking I had rejected.'
Meenakshi Mukherjee, in The Twice Born Fiction thinks that the last section of the novel is irrelevant and made the novel structurally weak. She observes.
The trouble lies in the confusion of purpose.Does
The novelist intend to present from Laila's point of view
A picture of en and manners in a particular
Period of Indian history, or does she intend to
Present one individual's groping towards self-
Realization? If it is the former,t hen the case
history method of the last part has some validity,
but if the novel is taken as a personal document
the last chapter be comes extraneous.
Laila's visit to the old mansion after long years enables her to put things in their proper perspective. As a girl, Laila always disliked the tyranny of the past and traditions and customs andthat denied thepossiblity of change and growth of a person when she looks at the mirror, her reminiscences takes her with Ameer and feels as a prisoner of her own past.
'I was my own prisoner andoculd release myself.'
Laila's decision to move with Asad is interpreted by Meenakshi Mukherjee as her return to the arms of the family and it represents:
At the end Laila come back to the deserted
Family house, and in an orgy of sentimentalism
rediscovers her cousin Asad, who apparently,
Has been waiting for her all his life. One can
see that Attia Hosain's heroine also finally
follows the same pattern as the heroine of
Santha Rama Rau: rebellion, romantic quest,
final submission to traditional values.
There is large element of nostalgia in the novel.Laila as a young girl always disliked the purdah system and restrictions made by the family members.But after becoming old woman when she goes back to the past days of the joint family, she feels warmth and secure and happy with the recollections of Zenana.Laila as a girl has enjoyed the privileges of feudalism and never she regrets for marrying Ameer who belongs to low class.This is made clear by her reply to Asad which ends the novel:
'I have been waiting for you, Asad.I am ready to leave now.'
She is ready to leave the old mansion which symbolizes tyranny.Laila chooses a man who is not looked upon favourably by her family that is Ameer and Asad/She does not accept Asad because Asad took interest in Zahra and defied the authority of Uncle Hamid, who wanted to arrange his life for him and walked out of the family.After Ameer's death, Asad was the only link between Laila and the outside world:
In my seclusion the urgency of the years
Of change and turmoil was made real through
Asad.We had dreamed when we were young
Of independence; he was now part of it with
all its undreamt of reality ' its triumphs and
defeats,its violent aftermath, the breaking-up of
our social order,and the slow emergence of another.
Asad becomes a delegate to the united Nations to act as a representative of the new order.Laila, once dreamt of going aroundthe world, would be like 'as remote a possibility then as of reaching the moon.'But with Asad, her dream come within her reach.
Sunlight on a Broken Column , goes beyond the politics of gender or sex. The book is not only a social document, but also a fine piece of craftsmanship, and grows upon you everytime when one reads it. It is a novel with ideas, people generally fail to notice it, because the ideas are discussed 'in the graceful tradition of our city where conversation was treated as fine art, words were loved and as,mediums of artistic, expression, and verbal battles were enjoyed as much as an any delicate,scintillating, sparkling display of pyrotechnic skill.'Sunlight on a Broken Column uncompromisingly follow the principles of change and growth, it preserved for us that was gracious and charming in the old world that is lost to us.
The sense of self grows as her earlier learning in the Zenana gets modified to suit her growing sense of individuality. She says,'inside me, however, a core of intolerance hardened' (Hosain138), that mocked at the disparity between ideals and practice. She feels constrained by the power of her elders over her life, which prevents her from executing her plans. This is a significant move away from the earlier women who accepted such decisions in the name of duty or fate.
The change in her earlier days decides to reclaim her self. Mulk Raj anand syas,' Something or other goes wrong, because Laila will play with the servant children; she will utter the wrong words from the English-Indian school; and she thinks disrespectfully about the respectable elders and insinuates rebellious sentiments in spite of censorious eyes.' These changes in her are evidenced in the following incidents from her life. As a child, she believes herself responsible for killing her grandfather. When the death of Baba Jan is announced, the family rushes to his bedside. Laila enters the room, unmindful of the formal courtesy that formed an integral part of such visits to him. She says, 'I had not covered my head; I had not raised by hand in salutations, and I could not' (Hosain83).She looks at the open eyes and imagines his death as a result of his being witness to the unwitting defiance to the tradition of respect. A fearful Laila thinks that the act, that was powerful, as not 'disrespect but its import' (hosain83), could kill him. As a young woman in love with Ameer, her meeting with aunt Abida to discuss the matter is free of such guilt. She refuses to believe that she was committing an offence by admitting that she was in love, which the elders equated to sex and sex was sin. My innocence was insulted, my own inhibitions outraged. No one could stop me marrying Ameer if only to prove the purity of live' (hosain312)
Laila questions the hypocrisy of the elders in accepting certain things, while rejecting others without providing a basis. More importantly she questions the relevance of shame as told to her by the elders .In a home, traditionally men and women even when married, were denied the freedom to converse freely with earch other. While it tolerates uncle Hameed and aunt saira since he has grown away in his attidudes and habits. He is not objected to as he is generally accepted as the man of the house. Laila feels it is a wrong basis as 'a thing cannot be shameful at one time and not another, for one person and not another' (Hosain105)
Laila's faith in love is revealed as she further adds,'if you believe in it enough it will be alright. It must be' (Hosain216) Anuradha Roy says,'Purdah of the mind is thus shown to be as even more repressive force than the physical restrictions imposed.'The family disowns her after her wedding to Ameer that takes place without the blessings of nay of her elders. Anuradha Roy says,' the confrontation provides Laila with the chance of proving to her that her earlier rebelliousness was not mere empty rhetoric, that she has the courage to take her convictions to a logical conclusion.'The ceremony itself is reduced to a mere drill and Saleem's marriage is used as a cover up. Her bliss comes to an end when Ameer joins the Army and becomes a prisoner of war. Her married life is jolted with the death of Ameer in the prison. As a widow, her family tries to comfort her in her grief but Laila refuses the help of the people who did not accept Ameer in his life. She has the choice to return home now, but decides to live alone with her daughter. Each of these struggle s is accompanied by moments of self-doubt and she is pained by the reaction of people around her.
When Laila begins going to school, her break becomes more significant. Young Laila is envious of Sita, her friend in the school not because she goes away on holidays but because 'she had a father, a, a brother...' (Hosain16)As a college going girl, Laila visits her friend Joan's place. Watching the closeness between Joan and her widowed mother, Laila says,'I felt a sense of deprivation' (hosain126).It is only among student friends at the college that she feels her life totally free from 'voices that controlled it' (Hosain128).They had been the authority of 'BabaJana, aunt Abida, Ustanji and now belonged to Uncle Hameed and aunt Saira and their friends' (Hosain128)..Suma Chitinis notes:
Though there can be no dispute about the fact that Indian society is
Oppressively patriarchal, it must be remembered that in India patriarchy
Is onlyone among the several hierarchies that oppress women. Some of
the most oppressive of these are the hierarchies of age, of ordinal status,
of relationship by marriage. Conceptually and analytically, some of these
may seem to be mere extensions of patriarchal oppression but it is
important to recognize that they are of experienced as oppression by the male.
The growth of herself makes her uncomfortable with he presence of many invisible barriers present in her life. She feels bitter to realize that she does ot have any freedom of action to participate with her friends in the struggle launched by the students against the British rule. She is honest enough to dismiss her opinions on these subject as being of no consequence, since she has no freedom to act o her own will while still under her uncle. She responds to her uncle's queries o her view by saying that she is well trained to not have her own opinions that her mind would be left to atrophy'(hosain160) because of the lack of its use to her, till she has enough courage to challenge the authority. ANuradha Roy says, 'The author from the beginning has taken paints to emphasise the quality of non-conformity in Laila, a confidence beyond her years, an ability to judge for herself which has always been the hallmark of a true selfhood.'
Anuradha Roy says,'Laila's quest for identity or self-definition is fulfilled in her rebellion against some of the values her family upholds, values which no longer have any meaning for her.
Anita desai, introduction, the sunlight on a Broken Column, By Attia Hosain (1961; New Delhi: Penguin, 1992) viii
Anuradha Roy, Patterns of Feminist Consciousness in Indian Women Writers (New Delhi: Prestige, 1999)139
MUlkRaj Ananda,'Attia Hosian: A Profile, 'Sunlight on Broken Colum by Attia Hosain (1961; New Delhi: Arnold-Heinemann, 1979) xiii.
Anuradha Roy, Feminist Conscious ness 103,134,136,100,137.
Suma Chitnis.Feminism: Indian Ethos and Indian Convictions.'Women in Indian Society: A Reader, e.R.Ghadially (New Delhi: sage, 1988)92.
Self in the creations of Manju Kapur
One is not born as woman: one becomes one ' Beauvoir
This suggests that women's inferior position in society is not a biological fact, but a created one. Civilization defines what is feminine, determines how women should behave and perpetuates the oppression of women. It is believed that the roles and social position that civilizations have assigned to women have kept them in an inferior position to that of men. All feminist writings concern themselves with women's inferior position in society and with the discrimination encountered by women because of their sex (Beauvoir Simon De the Second Sex, Parshley H M (Trans and Ed), Vintage, and London.
In 'The Second Sex' (1949) Simone DeBeauvoir, discussing about the history of materialism, argues that in the stone age (pre-Aryan times in India) the land was shared by all members of the clan; they also shared its resources and as a result, there was equality between the two sexes. Later with the discovery of metals such as bronze and iron, the improvement of tools like the plough and the eventual emergence of agriculture, man realized that he could cultivate a big extension of land by clearing the forests, i.e., take control of nature. His greed pushed him to exploit other men and reduce them to slaves becomes the proprietor of man gave place to paternal authority, and property of women gave place to maternal authority. Property being inherited from father to son' Here we see the emergence of the patriarchal family founded upon private property. In this type of family a woman is subjugated. (De Beauvoir, Simone, 1997, The Second Sex, London, Vintage)
The birth of 'new woman' in India is a reality as the concept and position of womanhood has changed in the modern context. In the new woman we can find attitudinal shift that longer shies away from taking the initiatives. Though this new change in thought has its variables, the results are relatively depending upon the individual. This new women has an assimilation of western influences as well as her native culture. She is a hybrid who despite of all kinds of upheavals, that is able to strike a balance among diverse spheres of her life. The post-colonial modern novelists depict a 'new woman' in their fiction, the woman who is the product of modern mercantile society, one who revolts against the traditional social set up. Consistently, there is a growth in her behavior and attitude. The new image of women presented by the novelist is ambitious, lustful, power hungry and bold. They use sex as weapon to win and mould men to their viewpoint and get the better of them and thus evolved a crisis in the family and society and have shaken the foundations of age-old institutions like marriage and motherhood. The concept of ideal Indian woman has become outdated. A modern woman is career-oriented because she knows that it is her economic dependence which empowers a male to dominate his wife and subject her to physical and mental torture. (A Kumar, Novels of Manju Kapur, New Delhi: Arup Book Publishers, 2010)
Manju Kapur became a writer in 1998 with Difficult Daughters. The novel is very innovative and worthy to get the common wealth writer's prize for best first book in Eurasian region. Many reviews and criticism followed and it proved to be the best seller in India and abroad. The novel depicts the turbulent years of World War-II and Partition of India and also the women of three generations, focusing on Virmati, the Difficult Daughter of second generation. IT is the story of woman who split between family duty, desire for education and illicit love. The opening lines of the novel 'The one thing I had wanted was not tobe like my mother.' This statement is made by Virmati's only daughter Ida, a divorcee and childless perforce. She could not develop an understanding with her mother during her life time and after Virmati's death this realization engulfs her as guilt.
Virmati, the eldest is burdened with family duties because of her mother's incessant pregnancies. Belonging to an austere and high minded Punjabi family, she grows up with the conditioning that the duty of every girl is to get married and a woman get respect if she remains at home but not in doing a job. However, the seeds of aspiration are planted in Virmati when she sees Shakuntala , her cousin, tasting the wine of freedom and leading an independent life as a college student.
In the college, the Oxford returned Professor, her neighbour notices her 'flower like against a backdrop of male students.' The love affair continues between professor and Virmati and she learns about the pregnancy of Gang a, the wife of Professor, Harish making love on one side and made his wife pregnant on the other. At this situation, decisively she cuts him saying, 'You think you can do what you like so long as you go on saying you love.'Hence we see 'New Woman ' in Verbatim who does not want to be a rubber doll for others to move as they willed(85) Denying the old notions that enforce a woman towards domesticity, she asserts her individuality and aspires for self reliance through education. She coolly and with strong determination burns professor's letters shows her resolution to close the chapter and look forward to a meaningful life. She understands that she is wasting her time on meeting with the Professor. She feels that she is being used and he wants to have the cake and eat it too. He enjoys the better of the two worlds and is not there even at the most crucial time when she undergoes termination of pregnancy. Even afterwards when the Professor marries her reluctantly she is given a pariah status and faces exclusion from hearth etc which is the sole province of Ganga, the first wife. Virmati lives in a restricted space and is forced into submission though in a very subtle manner. Though she dares to cross one partriarchal threshold, she is caught into another where her free spirit is curbed and all she does is 'adjust compromise and adapt.' Perhaps it is the inability of Virmati to strike independent roots and grow that makes Ida remark.
'The one thing I had wanted was not to be like my mother.' Ida's rejection of Virmati, not as a mother, but as a woman.'This book weaves a connection between my mother and me, each word a brick in a mansion I made with my head and my heart. Now live in it, mama and leave me...Don't haunt me anymore.'(258)To sum up the topic, we can quote that author has created a work not merely the autobiography turned into fiction. The story is partially based on the love story of Kapur's own mother, Virmati.Manju Kapur was so moved by the love story of her parents set in partition times that she has tried to reintroduce it bit by bit, before it evaporates from her memory. It is not only about Difficult Daughters, but also about difficult mother and about mothers who do not understand their daughters, about daughters who want to break out into new paths. It starts very well and is quite gripping at the beginning with a daughter going on a quest to understand her mother, after the mother has died.
The creation of Manju Kapur as a novelist pg30, 31, 32
Her fourth novel 'The Immigrant' is against the story of Nina, a thirty years old English Lecturer who is also struggling to make herself settled somewhere but like Virmati,Astha and Nisha the question of Nina's marriage is a hurdle in peaceful living of her mother.
Kapur is a sabbatical from her job teaching English at Miranda College, and now divides her time between her home and the library of the Delhi GymKhana where she goes to write.(Interview with Manju Kapur)
Her explanation of almost anthropological quality of her work nuanced has from a lifetime of studying and teaching literature. She says 'literature by women, about families, always has these larger considerations.' 'With years of studying texts, it becomes almost second nature to look beneath the surface- at social and economic forces, gender relationships and how they are played out in an arena that, in my writing, happens to be the home. But then, all sorts of things happening outside do affect what is happening inside the home 'Home ' and the absence of it ' are also preoccupations of her latest novel 'The Immigrant' IT is set in the mid-1970s, is the story of a woman named Nina marrying an NRI dentist based in Halifax, Canada and her many tribulation in the new country ' including an increasing lack of purpose and her husband Amanda's sexual dysfunction problem.(Jai Arjun Singh in An Interview with Manju Kapur pg179)
Manju Kapur raises the sentiments of mother as:
'And her womb, her ovaries, her uterus, the unfertilized eggs that were expelled every month, what about them? They were busy marking every passing second of her life.'(ImmigrantPg 1)
In such silly atmosphere, the question of her self automatically rises in her mind.Ashok Kumar also says:
The astringent and conical social web
Constrained women to obliterate her 'self', her
Eccentricity and separate identity. In modern era
The self finds it intricate to come to stipulations
With the social web because the central values
Nurtured by the self and the outer social
Demands are incompatible. This helplessness
To formulate the self familiar with the
Social web results in the alienation of self (New Lights 163-164)
On fine day, when she becomes thirty years old, a marriage proposal from Ananda, a dentist in Canada comes to her. As she does not wish to leave her long attained career she moves in dilemma on the issue of her marriage. She marries Ananda because of her mother and relatives compulsion. In Canada, she prefers to work as she is a working woman; her inclination to do something in foreign land grows more. She applies to do job in library but Ananda assures her that it is not easy making it a in a new country. She try hard to become pregnant, but she is not fertilized. After several attempts and appointments with doctors, she moulds herself again to be independent.
She did not care so much about having a child
These walls, this room was inimical to it. She
Wanted to be outside, she had had enough of
inside, slowly she left the apartment block, and
started walking. The sky was grey, a few brown
Leaves still clung to trees otherwise bare (172)
She succumbs herself to studies and goes to library to study, but her interest in going to library diminishes because the study of different books becomes 'appetizer.' Along with her interest in studies and settlement of her own, she grows hungry of having more sex with Ananda. Unfortunately, it gives negative
Results. She compels Ananda to involve in investigation of his sperms, He goes for investigation where he spends one week with surrogate. Then she goes in wrong directions. The test reports of Ananada are normal and Nina is not satisfied with the way he gets sex therapy.
An argument goes on between Ananda and Nina.She again firms her feet to be independent and before having a child, she wishes to settle herself and says
I miss home- I miss a job ' I miss doing things.
I feel like a shadow what am I ,but your wife?
Altruistic tendency develops in her. During her job she meets Anton who proves to be a great succor to take Nina to her doom. She make relations with Anton who says:
I'm married too.But its stupid to confine yourself to one person for your whole life,What about adventure, what about experiencing differences? Nobody, you know.(Immigrant261)
When she gets a new company of Anton, she feels much relaxed and it is a kind of experience for herself. She becomes passive towards Ananda and makes extramarital affair with Anton. But within a short span of time, she is seduced badly by Anton. She gets the news of her mother died and so she goes to Delhi where she finds no assistance of Ananda.Her life becomes miserable and she flies to University of New Brunswick.
In the life of woman, the quest for self has become a much debatable phenomenon, as the term is growing old; it is losing its authenticity. The fact is woman is mostly denied of their sentiments and emotions. They are ignored in many occasions, but as far as the honesty to them is concerned they must be vigilant for their chastity and responsibilities. Poojatolani says:
Even today, thousands of girls sit within the four walls of their houses and wonder why they do not have the right to close their own lives, decide for themselves whether they want to be homemakers or move. Marriage is still the reason for their birth. Freedom is more than just being aloud out for a pizza with friends (review)
Identity is former at the unstable point where the 'unspeakable'
Stories of subjectivity meet the narratives of history of a culture.
-Stuart Hall, 'Minimal Selves'
Manu Kaptur and Jhumpa Lahiri through their characters Astha and Gogol present the identity of an individual that has shaped by many different individuals and incidents. The characters in the novels always search for their true selves and identities, which is always related to many other characters. Family is the central concept of these two novels, whether this is from the view of an expatriate writer or a native writer.
The novel of Jhumpa Lahiri 'Namesake' concentrates on a young man, who is face identity crisis of all kinds in a foreign nation. Gogol's family is settled in America and he is a culturally displaced man who suffers with estrangement. The title suggests The Namesake is the name of the hero .Gogol is the son of Ashoke and Ashima. Ashoke named him after the Russian author Nikolai Gogol whose book he was reading while travelling in a train. He escapes from danger miraculously and he believes that it is because of the particular book or author he has been saved. Therefore he named his son Gogol. The parents of Ashoke want to give him a Russian name but they wait some days for the arrival of a letter carrying the name of their son from Calcutta. As it was missed somewhere the name Gogol was deposited on him like Akaky Akakievich's overcoat. His maternal parent complimented him with a 'good name' which his parents have finally decided for him when he started going for education. Then they named Nikhil that means 'he who is entire, encompassing all', but still it bears a resemblance to Nikolai, the first name of the Russian author Gogol.
During his fourteenth birthday, Ashoke gift him a book by Gogol, The Short Stories of Nikolai Gogol, till then he never revealed him the story behind his name. When Gogol never bothered to read the words written in the book by his father then his father bid him goodbye and reminded him the wordings of Dostoevsky:
'We all came out of Gogol's overcoat.'
'What is that supposed to mean'?
'It will make sense to you one day'' (Namesake78)
The author tried to knit the life and story of the Russian writer Gogol along with the novel. Later Gogol decides himself to change his name. Although he is an Indian, he is not carried out with his name, so he decides to change his name and so he undergoes with his second baptism when he changed his name to Nikhil .On one incident when he was traveling by train to his home,, occurs an accident where a person commits suicide by jumping in front of the train. His father who was waiting for him at the station reveals then the story behind his name after hearing about the accident. Ashoke tells that certain kind of accident had nearly taken in his life. Then Gogol realized how he and his name is attached to his father.
Gogol later achieves graduation in architecture programme and meets a girl named Maxine. When he was away from his home for sometime there occurs his father's death. There come changes in him, it reshape him into an Indian. He performs all the duties of a Bengali son, by shaving his head, by carrying his father's ashes to the Ganges, with his mother and sister. Maxine ,her girlfriend wants to console and wants to make him forget his father and invites him to go spend sometime with her so that he gets away from all those things that happened in his home. But he prefers to stay there in his home. He tells that 'I don't want to get away.'We can find an imposed identification with his lost identity.
According to his mother's wish he agrees to a marry a girl named Moushumi Mazoomdar Gogol never want to impose his authority after marriage over his wife. Therefore, his wife never changed her last name Mazoomdar to Ganguli; it remains as Mazoomdar and not Ganguli. When he meets one of the friends of his wife He says: 'There is no such thing as a perfect name. I think that human beings should be allowed to name themselves when they turn eighteen'(245).After somedays Gogol comes to know that his wife has a strong relationship, with Dmitri much stronger than the marital union, and made him upset for the first time in is life.
They were things for which it was impossible to prepare
But which one spent a life time looking back at, trying to accept,
Interpret, comprehend, Things that should never have h
Happened, that seemed out of place and wrong, these were
What prevailed, what endured, in the end (NameSake287?)
Gogol faced a series of accidents and missteps, his name that he carries, his father's death and then his marriage all these event shad shaped and moulded Gogol. Now Gogol is free from all bondages, his relationships had taken him somewhere where he realized the value of the self. It is only then he started reading The short stories of Nikolai Gogol, his birthday gift by his father. Then he reads the inscription on the first page,'The man who gave you his name, from the man who gave you your name' (Namesake288)
The novel of Manju Kapur 'A Married Woman (2002) implies that the novel and its characters centers upon the married woman, Astha and her psychic nuances. It is the story of Astha, the daughter of a middle class family who is married to an American returned Indian and is doing a flourishing business. After marriage, she settle in a rich family with her husband to take care of and two kids to look after. The novel is about the fusion of the personal trauma of a person with that of the national politics and history. The very first paragraph of the novel presents the backdrop of the story .It goes like this:
Astha was brought up properly, as befits a woman, with
Large supplements of fear.One slip might find her alone,
Vulnerable and unprotected.The infinite ways in which she
Could be harmed were not specified, but Astha absorbed them
Through her skin, and ever after was drawn to the safe and secure (Married Woman1)
Hemant her husband finds no place in her life.His condition is worse than that of rubberstamp because whether he permits, or not, if she decides to go, she goes irrespective of her husband, children or mother-in-law's bothering about her.Ashok Kumar says:
Manju Kapur has exposed a woman's passion with love and
Lesbianism , an incompatible marriage and ensuing annoyance.
With passion to revoluctionize the Indian male sensitivity, she
describes the traumas of her protagonists from which
they suffer, and perish in for their triumph. She is stunned at
The intensification of fundamentalism and the augment of
Religious zealots to uplift and elevate the country by a crusade
And establish paranoia by presenting evil as a historical necessity (New Lights 165)
Infact, Astha reaches on the turning point of her life when she meets Aijaz .Previously, she succumbs to the will of her parents, but when Hemant discards her views on poetry and paintings, she turns into a protagonist and writes a poem:
The eventful release from pain
In the tearing relentless separation
From those in habit loved
Can come so slowly
It seems there will never be a day
Of final peace and tranquility (Married Woman 180)
Hemant understands the emotions of her in the poem as an attack on male dominancy.But she gives up writing and changes her attention in drawing sketch with the soft pencils and coloured charcoal.Hemant wants to change her and try to realize her that she is a married woman and her responsibilities towards family are more than other responsibilities.In one of the communal riots when her friend Aijaz dies. Astha feels it from the heart. When Aijaz dies she canot stop her tears and sentiments:
Hemant watching her, immediately lost her temper. 'Why are you crying'? he demanded.'What was he to you'? 'Some murderers trap and burn a whole theatre group in a van and you ask me why I am crying.' 'This kind of thing happens all the time; I don't see you wasting your tears.' I cannot weep for the whole world, only when it means something to me. Maybe I am deficient, but I knew him, he was always working for everybody's good, even the children loved him. And he has been burnt to death. Isn't that reason enough'? she sobbed rocking to and fro with rage and grief. (Married Woman139)
Although she tries her best to find her place in family and society, she reaches nowhere because of her moral imbalance and unnatural wishes to be in communion with Pipee, the widow of Aijaz Khan. Mithu C.Banerji says:
However, occasionally Kapur's rendition of a lesbian relationship sometimes distracts the reader from the tensions of the situation and the core sensibilities of the characters. Nevertheless, A Married woman is a well balanced depiction of a country's inner development its strengths and its failures ' and the anguish of a woman's unrest, which is as complicated as the social political upheaval going on around her .
After the death of Aijaz, she meets his widow Pipee who becomes again the source of delight to her.Astha reaches on the extreme in every new engagement.And this engagement or relation brings clashes between her husband and Astha. She gives much importance to the words of Pipee and both live under the illusion of making themselves free from male bondage but when their freedom is weighed on the scale of morality, values and maintenance of family peace, they stand nowhere.
Her whole family is disturbed and each member of the family opens his/her mouth.Inspite of being the mother of two pretty children;Anuradha and Himanshu, she wishes to be liberated from family without caring for children andhusband.Her mother 'in-law also issues directions that in turn make her aghast. She says:
You know I never try and stop you from doing anything. Even when you neglect the children, and are busy in your painting and meetings, I do not say anything. I am not the type to interfere. I am glad my daughter-in-law does not feel she has to sit at home.T ill I have the use of my hands and feet I will help you, but it is my duty to point that your are going too far (Married187)
Her life goes according to the plans of others even then it goes perfectly, whether it is her parents or husband. Obviously when she realizes that the unhappiness surrounds her, she urges for happiness and ends up in a very friendly and cordial relationship with another man Aijaz and later it changes toa lesbian relationship with his wife Pipeelika .Pipeelika pursue her Ph.D and so she leaves for the United States. The author never uses the word in the novel lesbian but the relation between them or analysis shows that.'They enjoy being together, they desire each other and revel in each other's bodies. There exists a passionate sexual union between the two' (Chandra) Astha who has enjoyed sexual relationship wither husband is currently chainging against her homosexual relationship with Pipeelika.'When she was with Hemant she felt like a woman of straw, her inner life dead, with a man who notice nothing...' (Married Woman287)
Astha obeys all the roles assigned to her by the so called society, that is her own mother who has no family responsibilities and now decides to go to Rishikesh, to spend her time in devotion to the swami. Different roles assigned to the women by the fate, if we go against these roles, people get the label as prodigal daughters or sons by the society,Kapur gives the key idea of the novel and the Indian mind-set through one of the letters addressed to Astha by her mother, It goes like this:
' To keep a relationship going I should ignore the dark side,
i.e., weakness of a person.Accept without condition if you
want to live in peace.Any relationship can be beautiful if you
Nuruture it. In time of difficulty don't lose heart, Freedom from
all complexes is essential.Don't asset your ego ' don't argue.
Employ wisdom to solve the problem, you are committed to
ME says Lord Krishna(Married Woman83)
Astha is always puzzled at the matters of income, expenditure, rights, responsibilities, knowledge, power and dependency.The discussion regarding the matter of savings Astha says like this:
Hemanth relaxed' 'When I have finished I will explain everything to you.Infact I amglad you have brought this up.I have been thinking you should what is going on. That way if anything happens to me; you will not be left in the dark' (Woman98).
'But Hemu', said Astha,'I don't wish to be enlightened only because you might die, which I hope will not be for a long long time, and certainly not before me' (Married Woman99)
She never wants to depend on others. She urges for equality to get equal share in taking care of the family just like any other woman. Her another greatest urge was to get a space when they are sharing a personal talk 'I need more space' (Married Woman156) She asks for a very limited space like other husbands, Hemant tries to please her saying that the whole house is hers. She demands a room of her own. This request has been denied not only by her husband, but also by her in laws. SO she try to create an imaginary independent space of her own in her real space:'Constantly reminded of the space nobody thought enough of her to give, she became very bad tempered during interruptions. Finally, she steeled herself; she shut the door, and if disturbed too often locked it. In this way certain privacy was granted her' (Married Woman157)
In the end of the novel, Astha reaches nowhere.Ultimately, she has to come back to her family and read just herself in ancient traditions.Christopher Rollason says:
The women in India have indeed achieved their successes in half a century of independence; but if there is to be a true female independence too, much remains to be done.(Rollason)
Self in the works of Zadie Smith
Self is accepted as a private issue, if it is considered in a critical way, it involves evaluating the outside world too(Elliott,4) It is always influenced by external factors as said by Sociologists, shape with their own in experience of social and cultural elements(Elliott,5) As a result, individuals feelings and beliefs are considered with cultural and social components. (Elliott5) Selfhood may simultaneously influence and structure social life with self experience and understandings(Elliott9) The relationship between the self and the outside world is thus central to the understanding of selfhood.(Elliott,7). Hence , individual identity is a construction of both private and public, personal and political, individual and historical 'external factors and internal resources should be weighed equally analyzing the self and identity(Elliott,11). The concept of selfhood and individual identity has been consequently challenged: the self is no longer associated with'images of sameness, continuity, regularity and repetition' and thereby led to an age of 'identity crisis' started(Elliott15-16). By the rise of postmodernity in the second half of the twentieth century(Bauman1991b,173) the concept of selfhood appears to be indispensable to take into account some of the factors such as globalization, migration and multiculturalism, to reshape the relationship between the self and the social world in the last half century(Elliott19,22). Globalization have led the path to postmodernity, reshaping societies and the self significantly(Bauman 1998,299;Ellott,19).This factor is responsible for the passage from modernity to postmodernity, and has appeared to have influenced the self and the construction of identity(Bauman 1998,299) The world of self lives in fact 'full of opportunities'(Bauman2012b,62); nevertheless the possibility to choose and shape the future personally may be attractive , it also provokes anxieties due to the lack of determination, completeness and stability(Bauman 2012b,62).The postmodern self is characterized by a lack of stability and solidity(Elliot,154) It is dominated by uncertainity, today's self would be expected to be more tolerant towards ambivalence(Elliott158) With the rapid changes in the world the self is overwhelmed by the technological and social transformations and its capacity to tolerate ambiguity weakens(Elliot158)
Another factor that appears to have affected the postmodern self is the abandonment of transcendental beliefs(Touraine101).As individuals guided by religion, reason and history, after the Second World War transcendence has been abandoned since it no longer deal with the material world(Touraine,101)
In a world in which identity is constantly challenged and new alternatives are continuously offered individuals' efforts to establish definite identities would simply not work(Bauman 2012a,27). Individuals need to construct their identity by negotiating the alternatives their identity is exposed and balanced with different components. on one hand uncertainly may provoke anxieties; on the other hand maintain fixed identity that does not appear to be desirable either in a postmodern world(Bauman 2012a,29) Identity cannot be maintained permanently but needs to be continuously modified while moving forwards.(Bauman 2012a, 26)
It is possible to claim selfhood is a construction that results from the interconnection between the self's inner world and the social, cultural and political contexts in which self is inserted (Elliott, 166) As a response to external upheavals, selfhood changes continuously transformed by the increasingly challenging social conditions and historical and cultural processes that makes individual life fragmented and uncertain (Elliott166, 172)
Clara the daughter of Hortense, spends almost her entire life waiting for the End of the World predicted by religious intellectuals studying the bible and hoping to be one of the saved (Smith, 32,409).Hence, when predictions prove wrong in 1914 and 1925, Hortense is rather disappointed (Smith, 32).However, when 1 january 1975 is forecast as the new date for the apocalypse, Hortense believes that this is her last occasion to experience the end of the world. As she is born in 1907, she gets older and may not have much time left. She feels that the world is going to end and there is not time to lose and so her daughter Clara is asked to help her mother making banners, writing articles, ringing bells. She is a firm believer and so brought her child according to Jehovah faith. Hornets never want her child to get distracted by Ryan Topps and she thinks that Clara does not have time for boyfriends, she also thinks Clara is not like other adolescents, since 'She is the Lord's child, Hortense's miracle baby' (Smith 33).Like Hortense herself, who came to the world when the earth was shaking and cracking, Clara's birth can be considered miraculous too. When she was at forty-eight, she became pregnant after only hearing the voice of the Lord, she 'conceives the child He had asked for' Hortense relies on His Will and, consider her age, as she becomes convinced He wanted to show her another miracle. Actually Clara meets Ryan and has the chance to speak with him. He lives in there and when she rings bell he appears at the front door she nervously begins to talk about the Jehovah's. Clara always compare life to a staircase, that one can either descend or ascend and claims that she feels he is descending it. After lingering on her figure, Ryan invites Clara to enter the house: that same afternoon 'the devil wins easy hand in God's poker game' From that day onwards, they begin to go out together. It appears that Clara's interest in Ryan his ugliness, tiresome nature and unappealing behavior: thus She transcends Ryan himself. Clara changes herself 'Clara's mind changes, Clara's clothes changes, Clara'swalkchanges, Clara's soul changes.Clara experiences so many new things in her life that 'the more blessed she[feels] on earth, the more rarely she turns her thoughts towards heaven:'hence , by forgetting the staircase and taking the lift' she feels that she is one of the saved one at that moment.
Clara finds always Ryan at home talking with her mother.'When Clara turned the key in the door, always fell silent as she approached the kitchen. Like children caught out, they would become sullen, then awkward, and then Ryan would make his excuses and leave.'(Ladysmith 34-35).He also avoids her at school. But one day Clara discovers 'a tiny silver cross' underneath his pullover and has to acknowledge' What she didn't want to see'. Clara's fears become concrete when Ryan asks her to get on his motorbike to tell Clara that her mother and he himself are concerned about her. Before 1 January 1975, Ryan attempts to save Clara and quotes 'he's just separating the sheep from the goats' and believes that Clara herself is a sheep. She replies that 'She would rather be sizzling in de rains of sculpture wad my friends than sitting' in heaven, bored to tears, wild Darcus,(her dead father)my mudder and you!(Zadie Smith37) Distracted by Clara's words, Ryan crashes against an oak while driving his motorbike; Ryan is thrown one way, Clara another. In this accident, Clara breaks her top teeth and Ryan stands up unarmed. It shows and makes him believe even more firmly that he is destined to be saved whereas Clara is not destined.
The narrator suggests that Clara is waiting for a man who, by choosing her, may allow Clara to 'Walk in white with Him: for she was worthy' Revelation 3:4(Smith 38) Clara lost her faith and the world she had been living by until that moment, and consequently looks at Archibald 'through the grey-green eyes of loss'(Smith38) Clara still felt that deep down her mother would prefer her to marry an unsuitable man rather than live with him in sin(Smith 40)As she was aware of Hortense's thought, Clara purposely inquires Archibald to fetch her away without marriage. They eventually get married and Irie is born to them.
Smith, is the daughter of a Jamaican mother and an English father, admits, that the novel creates an enjoyment for ethnically-diverse identities:
'It is a kind of fantasy book', [Zadie ] agrees. 'There is a lot of pessimism currently about racerelations in this country. I think the relationships in the book are something to be wished for, but I think they might exist now, and certainly in the future, with the amount of mixing that has gone on. My generation and my younger brother's generation even more, don't carry the same kind of baggage.'(Merrit 2000:n.p)
The twin brothers Millat and Magid manage to relate themselves to others and seek a negotiation between their biological roots and English values.(Beukema,8)Millat though belongs to Bengali family listens to Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson as he was born in the West.(smith 156)Magid , his brother desires to participate in the Harvest Festival,like other school children inspite of hisfather's opposition.(150)There is acontrasting inclinations, in children that brought them to oppose values,beliefs and choices like adults.Samad defines his child Magid as ' a good-for-nothing'(135):his strong personality and predisposition for troubles may perhaps forecast his future as a leader of a group of Raggastani first and ofa fundamentalist Islamic group, KEVIN, later on (Smith,135,231,334)Magid, a nine-year-old child, not only is impressively intelligent and talented for scientific subjects; he also desperately desires to be English, consequently turning his name into Mark Smith (134,151)Magid's immature predispositions and desires seem to come true when he later joins Marcus's scientific project and even turns 'more English tha the English'(406).On this basis, when growing up they are increasingly distanced from one another and from the hybridized identity of their childhood(Beukema,8)The fluidity of their childhood identity seems to be altered under the influence of the outside world and both Magidand Millat are led to seek a stable identity constituted mainly of one primarily aspect (Beukema,8).
Samad feels corupted by England and states that what others would call 'assimilation' is rather 'corruption'(190)Samad gets attracted towards English woman, Poppy, his sons' music teacher and wants her 'more than any other woman he had met in the past ten years'(133)He even make a deal with Allah, proposing to avoid masturbation if allowed to drink(139)Salad feels he is 'a masturbator, a bad husband, an indifferent father with all the morals of an Anglican'(141)He never want to lose his Bengali identity.Samad moves to London after having fought for the British Army during Second World War, he supports his Bengali identity along with identifying the British nationality, which provided him with an education and for which he has to fought. Again when religion emerge as a further aspect of difference, Samad becomes increasingly split and cannot manage amongst the multiple and opposing aspects of his identity(Mirze192)Millat, remains in Britain, and feels increasingly excluded from British society and becomes the leader of a 'cultural mongrel' called Raggastani(Beukema,9; Smith 231).In 1989, he decides to go to Bradford with his fellow companions, to protest against 'the dirty book'(233)Even though the book's title and its author are never openly uttered, many hints within the novel proves that they are referring to Selman Rushdie's Satanic Verses(Squires,32)Though knows nothing about the book and its content he joins the demonstration since 'he knows other things'(233) Everywhere he goes Millat is considered ' a Paki no matter where he comes from'(234)Millet clings to religion and in this way strives to reduce his increasing alienation within England(Mirze,196). Millet is offered to become the head of a fundamentalist Islamic group, KEVIN, which stays for 'keepers of the Eternal and Victorious Islamic Nation'(295) KEVIN treats religion and politics as 'two sides of the same coin' and it frequently resorts to violence.(470) It shows that he resolves to embrace his diversity rather than attempting to negotiate between his Bengali identity and English identity(Mirze,197)Joyce Chalfont considers this as 'inability to reconcile two opposing cultures' as one of the causes.(375)Millet try to fill by joining KEVIN does not seem to be religious: but it is rather void that needs love(Mirze,198,Smith,324)Despite the lack of a complete intellectual adherence to KEVIN's principles, Milt for the first time feels he belongs to somewhere,(Mirze,197)'neither one thing nor the other, this or that, Muslim or Christian, Englishman or Bengali,' Millet has chosen one single component of his identity 'Islamic faith to prevail over the others. Thus Millet who is left in Britain turns into an Islamic extremist.
Joshua an intelligent from his childhood. He always tries to spend much time with his family, he even comes into contact with an animalist group, FATE, whose acronym stays for ' Fighting Animal Torture and Exploitation'(403) FATE is described as an extremist group whose fanatical members struggle against any form of exploitation of animals even resorting to violence (479). After meeting his founder members, Joely and Crispin, and having had a conversation with Joely, Joshua becomes convinced that 'his parents are assholes, that he himself is an asshole, and that the largest community of earth, the animal kingdom, are oppressed, imprisoned and murdered on a daily basis with the full knowledge and support of every government in the world' (481) Hence Joshua resolves to join this group. He tries to negotiate between his past values and the beliefs he has been initiated to, Joshua decides to reject his parents' teachings and to embrace FATE's principles(481-482) At first Joshua maintains his identity secret and never reveal that his father is the scientist, exploit mice for his research but he feels the necessity to disclose that he is the member of FATE his identity(482)Joshua openly criticize his parents who 'go on about rights and freedoms and then they eat fifty chickens every fucking week,' which is actually a crime according to FATE(403) Joshua becomes convinced that it is only through 'extreme behaviors that you can get through to somebody like Marcus'(405)IT shows that when he was a child he accepted his father's ideas and later as he grows up he maintain distance himself from his father and embraced everything that is exact opposite of what Marcus Chalfont stands for and believes in (Beukema,11)
After joining the animalist group Joshua fee as if he has 'found his niche'(403)Though being the son of Marcus Chalfen's son, Joshua helps FATE to plot against his father's project(482)Joshua discloses FATE a very precious information, that his father uses mice for his research, and he is going to display on 31st December as part of his Future Mouse project(485).With this information, the members of FATE decide to concentrate their attention on the mouse and for its release rather than on Marcus; once the mouse on display has been rescued, Marcus consequently becomes inoffensive.(484)
Joshua becomes more conscious of the approaches of 31st December and he never realizes of his father's downfall and begins to question himself about the consequences of his actions (482-483). He stopped analyzing and evaluating his parents' way of thinking and he has not considered the outcome of his actions(491)Moreover, he never thought he may have betrayed his father; when he hears Crispin ridiculing Chalfenism infront of him, he understands and regrets having revealed Crispin their tendency and defined their thoughts and actions.
Joely compliments herself with Joshua for his determination and calmness, inspite of his own father's involvement, Joshua becomes convinced that it is more inertia rather than calm(495-496).He realizes that he has never been good at taking extreme decisions, neither when he was younger, since 'choices need time, the fullness of time,' and 'the horizontal axis of morality'. He understood that he has to wait inorder to see the outcome of his choice (496).He begins to realize that the outcome of his recent choices is unthinkable and 'he cannot imagine a moment occurring after that.'(497)He ultimately acknowledges that 'you don't happen to the world' but rather 'the world happens to you'(497)Therefore, for the first time he becomes entirely convinced that one cannot control the world and its developments through his own decisions and actions(497).He realizes that both Chalfenism and FATE has equally embody extreme positions, that require proactivity. He ultimately becomes conscious of his belief that ' the world happens to you' and not the opposite(497).Therefore , as a consequence of his inability to successfully negotiate between his childhood identity and the new ideals he has been initiated to be caught in a dual: on the one hand, he attempts to control and determine the failure of his father's project with the members of FATE and on the other hand, he seems to recognize the pointlessness of the effort, both Marcus's and FATE to control and shape the development of the world.
It is often pointed out that ZadieSmith's novels are concerned wih identity. Her first novel White Teeth is about the story of three families living in London that focuses mainlyon the characters' identity crises. Smith shows how 'chance, choice and fate' related to the characters' decisiveness that shapes the individual. In2000, Zadie Smith depicted multicultural life in London in White Teeth, after that she again began to show interest as she has been influenced by Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard and chosen New England for her novel. In one of the interview she described that with an intention she selected identity and made it as a central theme for On Beauty. Her reminiscences frequently accused of not being black due to her hobbies and interests that included reading. Later, in one of the show she explained the reproaches, together with her scientific occupation with morality in literature that made her introduce the issue of authenticity, of being what and who you really are and how to be human.
Mark Stein assesses that the Black British novel is 'about the formation of its protagonists ' but, to be frank it is also about the transformation of British Society and cultural institutions' (Stein xiii).Smith's experiences mentioned in her writing allows enormous popularity through her novels, the readers enjoys throughout the English Speaking World. Her first novel was 'widely hailed as the first black British novel of the new millennium' (Steinxi) Despite being acclaimed for an 'optimisticportrait of a post racial country 'Smith received critical acclaim for 'whitewashing the truth'Cf.squire55.
Cf.Interview on Bookworm
Mark Stein, however, considers the excessive marketing with Smith's first novel that was hailed and believes that she was famous for her talent before it was even published. Her mixed racial background, Smith was nevertheless appreciated in the early 1980s or 1990s and today her novels became 'yardstick' to measure the talents of subsequent young ethnic minority Britons like Monika Ali. 'Publicist Charlotte Greig's campaign for the hard cover edition as even honoured with a Publishers' Publicity Circle award'(stein,181) Smith's good looks on the books for marketing was helpful, she herself admits that it is advantageous, for women these days. Smith followed a trend when she gave her characters a hybrid identity. Hybridity and ethnicity are not only discussed by theorists, but are omnipresent in our modern world and are even transformed into a fashionable concept.
John Aldridge says in his article 'Forget black, forget White and refers EA the new catchphrase 'ethnically ambiguous.' Aldridge quotes that nowadays versatile young people of mixed ethnic backgrounds trying to fill the majority of jobs in the music industry and show business. Mckenzie states that 'Black urban culture has become mainstream culture.'Black lifestyle is also extremely popular and fashionable amongst white children. Many of the young whites are crazy after black music and white 'metrosexual' football star David beckam was voted to be the most popular black in 2003, 'a brother trapped in a white man's body' also referred to as 'wigga.'This ethno trend became popular among writers and they are using the trend of hybrid and remixed cultures, the mixture of past and present, are even more popular within literature. Safraz Manzoor in his article 'Why do Asian writers need to be authentic to succeed? suggests that we, as readers, are mainly interested in something' raw, true and authentic.' Zadie Smith is very much concerned to know about the authenticity in literature, which she scrutinises in her essay 'Fail better' She asks the question 'What makes a good writer? Is writing an expression of self, or as T.S.Eliot argued, 'an escape from personality'? Do novelists have a duty? Do readers? Why are there so few truly great novels'?Smith points out that 'Somewhere between a critic's necessary superficiality and a writer's natural dishonesty, the truth of how we judge literary success or failure is lost.'Smith understood that remarkable writers and theoreticians that 'a writer's personality is his manner of being in the world: his writing style is the unavoidable trace of that manner.'
Homi Bhabha refers to migrants as cases of hybrid identity.'Suchpeople can destabilize traditional identities and violate supposedly mutually exclusive categories because they are from both the East and the West.'Migrants of hybrid identities live in 'diaspora,'a term originally denoting the dispersion of the Jewish community and deriving from the Greek 'to disperse' (Wisker, 26) the term disperses means being dispersed from a place of origin and scattered over an alternative location. Over hundreds of years, slavery brought about a global Diaspora, while many Asian workers left their home-countries as indentured laborers. They were forced to provide manpower, they found themselves living in 'a new culture and yet making their own versions of it, their own version of self, while still retaining versions of the home culture'(Wisker92)Irie in Zadie Smith's White Teeth imaginesJamaica in such a way:
No fictions, no myths, no lies, no tangled webs ' this is how Irie imagined her homeland. Because homeland is one of the magical fantasy words like unicorn and soul and infinity that have now passed into the language. And the particular magic of a homeland, its particular spell over Irie , was that it sounded like a beginning. The beginningest of beginnings. Like the first morning of Eden and the day after apocalypse. A blank page.(402).
Both migrants and their descendants are caught between two places, not knowing where they belong and, additionaly, those of second and third generation not knowing where they descend from: their origin remains a blank page to them, as they lack experience of cultural heritage, or not knowing their real origins.
Gilroy accentuates that a diaspora writer 'must continually plot for himself itinerant cultural routes' (McLeod,215) and establishes a connection between history, the future and the present. In the way, that hybrids have the ability to provide a translation between cultures. In Imaginary Homelands Salman Rushdie remarks upon the strain, but also on the privilege of hybrid writers:
Our identity is at once plural and partial. Sometimes we feel that we straddle two cultures; at other times, that we fall between two stools, but however ambiguous and shifting the ground may be, it is not an infertile territory for a writer to occupy. (Rushdie, 15)
According to Bhabha, 'uncanny' has the ability to challenge existing value judgements and objects of supremacy.
Culture is Heimlich, with its disciplinary generalizations, its mimetic narratives, its homologous empty time, its servility, its progress, its customs and coherence. But cultural authority is also unheimlich, for to be distinctive, significatory, influential and identifiable, it has to be translated, disseminated, differentiated, interdisciplinary,intertextual,international,interracial(Bhabha,136)The migrant represents the 'dual nature of culture, always situated in relation to both an original culture and a new location.'(Huddart,84)
Robert Young contributes to the analysis of hybridity by outlining the ways in which it 'shows the connection between the racial categories of the past and contemporary cultural discourse: it may be used in different ways, given different inflections and apparently discrete references, but it always reiterates and reinforces the dynamics of the same conflictual economy whose tensions and divisions it re-enacts in its own antithetical structure'(159)Millat in White Teeth is able to negotiate between his two identities and exist in England as a leader. When he grows up, he realizes his exclusion in society. Because hybridity 'suggests the impossibility of essentialism' (young159) Smith subtly presents Millat's understanding of identity of hateful criticism that similarly appeared in Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses (233) Millat begins to understand that he 'was a Paki no matter where he came from; that he smelt of curry; had no sexual identity; took other people's jobs; or had no joband bummed off the state' In short, he knew he had no face in this country, no voice in the country' (234) Because of this he changes his position and shifts from the status of a natural leader to one who merely possesses 'the ability to take a people by the hand and lift them up.'(294)
Millat even attempts to murder Dr.Perret, who disregards his religious beliefs.
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