Page 1

International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention ISSN (Online): 2319 – 7722, ISSN (Print): 2319 – 7714 www.ijhssi.org ǁ Volume 3 ǁ Issue 2 ǁ February 2014 ǁ PP.35-41

Apocalypse And Explication - A Study on Female Phase In Elaine Showalter’s ‘Towards Feminist Poetics’ - An Indian Point of View Dr. P. Rajendra Karmarkar 1

(Professor of English, Andhra University Campus, Kakinada, India)

ABSTRACT: The paper studies the nature of woman in comparison with man. She is different from man biologically, physically, and psychologically. If a man is general, worldly and universal, she is special, private and introspective. Her values are different from man’s. The paper avers that woman’s writings are clearly specified and demarked by their themes and the way they narrate or describe the stories or the type of the language they chose for writing. The paper studies the three phases of the woman writers divided and defined by Elaine Showalter. The three phases of woman as a writer which come under gynocritics, are the Feminine phase, the Feminist phase and the Female phase, backed up by illustrations taken from Indian English literature. The paper makes an attempt to draw the conclusion from three phases by analyzing each phase and inclines to support Elaine Showalter’s advocating female phase as the genuine experience which is evidenced by themes, the language, the style and the culture which are distinctively woman or mother oriented.

KEYWORDS: Apocalypse and Explication, Dalits, Male Tradition, Maya and Gautam, Woman as a Girl I.

INTRODCTION

There are two areas of study as far as woman writing is concerned: one is how women writers describe the male-dominated society in their literary works, and what kind of revelation or apocalypse they make about their own role; and the second is to study the way of their expression. In other words, one is to study their content and the other is to study their style and form in their works. Here we are concerned with the first of these two aspects: the content. Readings into the various works authored by women will give us a feeling that „much can be said on both sides‟. For instance, Queen Victoria who kept up voluminous private letters was against the clamour for women‟s rights. She denounced the concept of feminism calling it „the mad, wicked folly of Women‟s Rights‟ (Quoted by Graying A.C. in Toward the Light of Liberty P. 212). On the other hand, reading Elaine Showalter‟s critical works such as A literature of their own will provide us a descriptive view of the different phases in the literary output of women, and the way of asserting their rights in literature. This paper is aimed at describing briefly the feminist writing from the Indian point of view, limiting to a few women writers such as Anita Desai and Shashi Despande and others, and it purports to discuss their works from the scanner of Elaine Showalter‟s critical standpoints. Alt h o u g h ma n a nd wo ma n ar e d e clar ed b y t h e co n st it u tio n as eq ua l a nd e li gib le fo r eq u al r i g ht s a nd p r i vi le ge s, i n p r a cti ce, me n ap p ear mo re eq ual a nd e nj o y mo r e p ri v ile g e s th a n wo me n . Co n st it u tio n ma y i mp o se eq u al it y b ut na t ure s ep ara te s t he m. T h e y are b io lo gi ca ll y, p h ys ic al l y a nd p s yc ho lo gic al l y d i ffere n t. M a n i s ge ne ral, wo r ld l y a nd u ni v er sal b u t wo ma n i s sp ec ia l, p r i v at e a nd i n tr o sp ec ti v e. Co mp ar at i ve l y, wo ma n i s mo re se n si ti v e t ha n ma n. S h e i s no t ed fo r fr a gi li t y as S h a ke sp e are s a ys , “F rail t y, T h y na me is wo ma n” . B ut wo ma n i s glo r i f ied fo r p at ie nc e a n d co mp a s sio n. Vir g i nia W o l f d is ti n g u i s he s wo ma n fro m ma n i n va l ue s. W o l f sa ys “I t i s p ro b ab le, ho we ver, t hat b o t h i n li fe a nd i n ar t t h e v al ue s o f a wo ma n ar e no t t he val u e s o f a ma n . T hu s, wh e n a wo ma n co me s to wr i te a no v el, s h e wi ll fi nd t ha t s h e i s p erp et u al l y wi s h i n g to al ter t he e s tab l i s hed va l ue s - to ma ke ser io u s wh a t ap p ear s i n s i g ni fi ca nt to a ma n , a nd tri v ial wh a t is to h i m i m p o r ta nt ”. ( Q uo t ed b y R. S. S har ma i n An i ta De sa i , P .1 9 ) . Ela i ne S ho wal ter d i sc u s se s t wo ca rd i na l p o i nt s - W h at i s t he re al nat ur e o f wo ma n? and W h at i s t he ap p r o p r iat e at ti t ud e a wo ma n writer h as to ad o p t b et we en t he Fe mi n i ne , th e Fe mi n i s t a nd t h e Fe ma le wr it i n g s? W h at i s t he t yp e o f t he t h e me, t he l a n g ua ge a nd

www.ijhssi.org

35 | P a g e


Apocalypse And Explication - A Study On Female Phase… st yl e t he wo ma n wr it er i s to a s s u me fo r her b e i n g o p e n to t h e wo r ld to win tr ue j ud ge me n t ab o u t wo ma n ‟ s s it ua tio n i n t he p r e va il i n g c ir cu ms t a nc es . S ho wa l ter al so e xp lo re s t he q ue s tio n o f ma n ‟ s a tt it u d e i n a cad e mic fie ld i n t he fac e o f fa s t mo vi n g o r c ha n gi n g wo r ld . F urt h er , wh i le ma n is no ted f o r t ho u g ht s, a ct io n, ac h ie ve me nt a nd fa me and fo r hi s sac ri fice o f h is p le as ur es fo r p o wer a nd fa me, wo ma n i s wel l - k no wn fo r he r fee li n g s, mo o d s, t ho u g ht a nd e xp er ie n ce. An i ta De sa i i n a n i n ter v ie w a ffir ms , “wh ere a s a ma n i s co n cer ned wi t h a ct io n, exp er i e nce, a nd a c hie v e me n t; a wo ma n wri ter i s mo re co nc er ned wi t h t ho u g h t, e mo tio n , a nd se n sa tio n … fe mi n i ne se n s ib il it ie s. ” ( An it a De sai - 1 7 ) In t h e h i sto r y o f l it er at u r e wo me n ‟s wr it i n g s are clear l y sp eci fied a nd d e ma r ked b y th e me s a nd t he wa y t he y nar r at e o r d e scr ib e t h e s to ri es o r t he t yp e o f th e l a n g ua ge t he y cho o se fo r wr it i n g. T he ir t h e me s ar e s i mp le and h u mb le li k e T o ru D utt ‟s o r s ho w d eli g h t ful cl ar i t y a s e v i d en t i n t he e ss a y, “T o ward s Fe mi n i s t P o et ic s” o f E la i ne S ho wa l ter o r wo ma n ‟s o utp o ur i n g o f p o i g n a nt feel i n g s as i n P e arl B uc k ‟s T h e Go o d Ear t h o r wo ma n ‟s P s yc h e as i n Vir g i nia W o l f ‟s . “A Ro o m o f O ne ‟s o wn o r An ita D e sai ‟s Fire o n th e Mo u n ta i n o r S ha s hi De s hp a nd e ‟s T ha t Lo n g Si le nc e o r a s i n Ka ma la Da s ‟s a n ti trad i tio n al o r o u tsp o k e n ( co n fe s sio n al) wr it i n g o r N a mi ta Go k h ale ‟s d es crip tio n o f ne g at i ve a nd e xt r e me ( t o t he ma le tr ad i tio n) at ti tud e i n wo ma n . W o ma n as a g ir l r ece i ve s her i n s tr uc tio n fo r her fut u re l i fe fro m t he p o i nt o f ma l e trad i tio n . As a r e s ul t, s he lo o k s at e v er yt h i n g wi t h t he i n fl ue n ce o f t he fa t her o r mal e trad i tio n . Ela i ne S ho wa lter d i sc u ss es wo ma n a s a re ad er o f ma le o r ie nt ed l it erat ur e i n wh ic h wo ma n i s p o r tr a y ed as seco nd ar y, s up p r e s sed o r o p p re ss ed a nd tr eated as a t hi n g o f lu x u r y. T hi s i s t he an al ys i s wh i c h S ho wal ter ca ll s as fe mi n i s t c rit ici s m wh i c h i s co n cer ned wi t h “W o ma n a s a r ead er” wi t h wo ma n a s a co n s u me r o f ma le p ro d uced lit era t ure, a nd wi t h t h e wa y i n wh ic h t he h yp o th e si s o f a fe mal e r e ad er c ha n ge s o ur ap p re he n sio n o f a g i ve n te xt, a wa ke n i n g u s to t h e S i g ni fic a nce o f it s s e x ua l co d e s. I s ha ll cal l t hi s k i nd o f a nal ys is t h e „ f e mi n i st cr it iq u e‟... “It s s ub j e ct s i nc l u d e t h e i ma g es a nd st ereo t yp e s o f wo me n i n l it er a t ur e, t he o mi s si o n s a nd mi s co ncep tio n s ab o u t wo me n i n crit ic is m, a nd t he f i s s ur es i n ma le - co n str u cted lit erar y h i sto r y” . (E S - 4 0 3 ) Ela i ne S ho wa lt er d el i ne ate s wo ma n a s a wr it er - p ro d uc er o f her o wn t ex t, i n h er o wn la n g ua g e, b y h er o wn t ho u g h ts wh i c h are co mb i n ed b y h er o wn fe el i n g s a nd reac tio n s. S h e u se s t h e t er m „ g yn o cri ti cs ‟ wh ic h is d er i ved fro m t he Fr e nc h wo rd „la g yn o cr it iq ue ‟. S h e ap p l ie s it to mea n wo ma n a s a wri ter a nd cr it ic “... wo ma n a s a wri ter ‟ - wi t h wo ma n a s a p r o d uc er o f te xt u al me a ni n g , wi t h t h e h i sto r y, t he m es, ge nr es a nd t he str u ct ur es o f l iter at ur e b y wo me n . It s s ub j ect s i nc l ud e t he p s yc ho d y na mi c s o f fe ma le crea ti v it y, l i n g ui s tic s a nd t h e p r o b le m o f a fe ma le l a n g ua ge ... No t er m e x is t s i n E n gl i s h fo r s uc h a sp e cia li zed d is co ur s e, a nd so I ha v e ad ap ted t he Fr e nc h ter m „la g yn o cri tiq u e ‟: g yn o cr it ic s”. ( E S - 4 0 3 - 4 0 4 ) S ho wa l ter ma i nta i n s t ha t Fe mi n i s tic cr it ic is m a cq u ire s p o l it ica l o v erto ne s a s it is o fte n mi x ed wi t h so c ia li s m o r Mar x is m, a nd me n hap p e n ed to sp ear he ad t h e Fe mi n i st mo ve me nt a nd Fe mi n is t cr it ic is m te nd to fo llo w t he ma le o r ie n ted tr a d itio n a nd wr it i n g. As a re s u lt, t he ca u se o f wo ma n h as ne ver re cei ved i ts d u e a tt e nt io n a nd j u st ice a nd d esc rib ed a s i t i s. T h er e i s a sel f - d ec ep t io n o n t he p art o f wo ma n wri ter s fo llo wi n g Fe mi n i st cri ti ci s m, wh e n t he y c ho o s e t h e s ub j ec ts to s ui t ma le o rie n ted so c iet y. Ela i ne S ho wa lt er t r ea t s g yn o cr it ic s a s t he g en u i ne, o ri gi n al a nd i nd ep e nd e nt wr i ti n g t hro u g h wh ic h s he co me s o u t wi t h her s el f. El ai ne S ho wa lter s a ys “T he Fe mi n is t Cri ti c is e s se n tia ll y p o lit ic al a nd p o le mi ca l wi t h t heo r et ica l a ffi l ia t io n s to M ar xi st So c io lo g y a nd a e st he ti cs ; g yn o cr i ti cs i s mo r e se l f -co n ta i ned a nd e xp er i me n ta l wi t h co n n ect io n s to o t her m o d es o f ne w F e mi n is t r ese arc h ... G yn o c ri tic s b eg i n s a t t he p o i n t wh e n we free o ur sel v e s f r o m t he li n ear ab so l u t es o f ma le l ite rar y h i st o r y, s to p tr yi n g to fit wo me n b et we e n t he l in e s o f t he ma le tr ad i tio n, a nd fo c u s i n s tead o n th e near l y vi sib le wo rld o f fe ma le c ul t ur e. ..” ( E S - 4 0 4 )

www.ijhssi.org

36 | P a g e


Apocalypse And Explication - A Study On Female Phase… In her wo r k A Li ter a t ur e o f t he ir o wn , E la i ne S ho wa l ter d i v id e s wo me n ‟s wr it i n g in to t hr ee p ha se s. T he f ir s t o ne i s t he Fe mi n i n e p ha se b e g i n ni n g fro m 1 8 4 0 to 1 8 8 0 . T his p erio d is a s so ci at ed wi th B r o nt e Si st er s, Geo r ge El io t a nd El izab e t h Ga s ke ll. T h es e wr i ter s i mi ta ted t he co n te mp o r ar y ma le wr it er s and tr ied to wr it e li ke ma le wr it er o r i n th e p se ud o n y m o f ma le fo r f ear o f t he ma le d o mi n at ed so ci et y t hat d i s co ur a ge s a wo ma n to b e co me a wr ite r . T h e wo me n wr iter s wro te “. .. to eq ua l t he i nt el lec tu al ac h ie v e me n ts o f t h e ma le c u lt ur e, and i n ter n al ized i t s a s s u mp t io ns ab o u t fe ma le c ul t ure. T he d is ti n g u i s hi n g s i g n o f th i s p er io d i s t h e ma l e p s e ud o n y m, i ntro d u c ed i n E n gl a nd i n 1 8 4 0 ‟s, a nd a n at io nal C har ac ter i s ti c o f W o me n W riter s …” ( ES - 4 0 5 ) Ne ver t he le ss , wo me n wr o te i n t h e n a me o f m en o r i mi t at ed mal e wr iter s, t heir wr i ti n g s i n var iab l y i nd i cated t he to ne , te no r, st ruc t ure a nd s ub j ect s wi th i nce nd iar y a nd an ti - trad it io na l id ea s c h ar ac ter i s ti c o f wo ma n . “T he Fe mi n i s t co n te n t o f fe mi n i ne ar t is t yp ic al l y o b l iq ue, d i sp l aced , ir o ni c a nd s ub v er si v e; o n e ha s to re ad i t b et wee n t he li n e s, in t he mi s sed p o s sib il it i es o f t he te x t”. (ES -4 0 5 ) T he S eco nd P ha se ( 1 8 8 0 -1 9 2 0 ) wh i c h co me s u nd er Fe mi n i s t mo ve me nt , ch arac ter i se s W o ma n a s a W r it er o f p ro te s t a g ai n st mal e c h a u vi n i st ic ca no n s a nd ma le va l ue s. Eli zab e t h Ro b i n s, Fr a nc i s T ro llo p e a n d o t her s rep r es e nt t he p ha se . F e mi n i st s in cl ud i n g ma le wr ite r s ch a mp io n i n g t he c a u se o f wo ma n, rej ec ted t h e te xt t hat d ep ic ts a wo ma n a s a st er eo t yp e a nd o p p o s ed t he tr ad i tio na l i nj u s tic e d o n e to wo ma n . “I n t h e Fe mi n i st p h as e, fr o m ab o u t 1 8 8 0 to 1 9 2 0 , o r th e wr it i n g o f t he vo t e, wo me n a re hi s to ri cal l y e nab l ed to r e fl ect t he ac co m mo d ati n g p o s t ure s o f fe mi ni t y a nd to us e lit era t ure to d r a mat i se t he o r d ea ls o f wr o n ged wo ma n ho o d .... ” (E S - 4 0 5 ) T he t hir d p er io d wh ic h is sp a n ned fro m 1 9 2 0 ‟s o n ward s is c al led F e mal e P ha se i n wh ic h t h e wo ma n w r it er s s to p p ed b o t h i mi ta tio n a nd p ro te st a g ai n st i n eq u al d ep i ct io n o f wo ma n i n ma le wr i ti n g. Fe ma l e wr it i n g i s a ki nd o f se l f -d is co ver y o f wo ma n a s h er sel f and ab o ut h er o wn e xp e r ie nc e o f her o wn fe el i n g s, i n h ib i tio n s a nd u nd e rcu rre nt s a nd a s a fe mal e o b s er ver . Reb ec ca W e st, Do ro t h y R ic ha rd so n, V ir g i nia W o l f, Ani ta De sa i, S h as h i De s hp a nd e a nd K a mal a Da s fo r i n sta n ce rep re se n ted fe ma le wr it i n g s. “I n t h e Fe ma l e P ha se o n go i n g s i nce 1 9 2 0 , wo me n rej e ct b o t h i mi ta tio n a nd p ro te s t - t wo fo r ms o f d ep e nd e nc y - a nd t ur n i n st ead to f e ma le e xp eri e nc e a s t h e so ur ce o f a n au to no mo u s ar t ..” (ES - 4 0 5 ). Ha vi n g b ee n i n sp ir ed b y t he d e lib era ted v ie w o f J o h n St a urt Mi ll wh o s aid i n 1 8 6 9 “W o me n ‟s l ite r at ur e s ho uld e ma n cip a te it se l f fr o m t he i n fl ue n ce s o f ac c ep ted mo d el s, a nd g ui d e i t sel f b y it s o wn i mp ul se s”. (ES - 4 0 6 ), Ela i ne S ho wa lt er co n v in ced he rs el f i n a ratio n al a nd h u ma ni s tic wa y a nd r eco m me n d s F e mal e (p ha s e) wri ti n g a s t he g e n ui n e a nd o ri gi na l i n t he str ic te st se n se fo r t he wo ma n wr i ter to re ve al her fe el i n g s a nd t ho u g ht s a nd in h ib i tio n s r e al a nd tr ue . B o th Fe mi n i ne a nd Fe mi n i st wri ti n g s ar e u nr e al a nd i mp r ac tic al fro m t h e p o i n t o f l i mi ta t io n s i n i mi ta tio n o f me n ‟s wri ti n g a nd t he wa y o r e xt e nt to wh i c h so me ti me s it i s i na cce s sib le fo r wo me n to wr i te l i ke me n a s i n t he Fe mi n i ne wr it i n g. Fe mi n i st wr i ti n g t ha t e x p r es se s o utr a g e at t h e u neq u al a nd u n fai r trea t me n t met ed o u t to wo me n i n me n ‟ s wr it i n g ac h ie ve s mar g i na l p r o gre s s i n rep l ac i n g t he ma le trad it io n s, cu s to ms a nd va l ue s. I t ap p ear s t hat eq ua li t y b et we e n t he D al it s a nd t he o t her ca st es o r b et we e n t he b la c ks a nd wh i te s is mo re l i kel y p o s sib le t ha n b et we e n t he t wo o p p o s it e se xe s. Ap p are n tl y, a u t he n ti ci t y ha s b ee n sa nc tio n ed t o su c h wo rd s o f co m m o n ge nd er s uc h a s p o et, a ut ho r , go ver no r , ch air p er so n , fi re fi g hte r , ac to r to a vo id se xi s m i n st ead o f p o et es s, au t ho re s s, wo ma n go ver no r , c ha ir ma n / c ha ir wo ma n , fire ma n / wo ma n , actr es s. B u t s uc h p erip her al a nd o r na me n tal i n no va tio n d o es no t me ta mo rp ho s e t h e b a si c trai t s o f wo ma n. W o me n at h i g her le ve ls r ecei v e sal ari es o n p ar wit h me n, b ut at lo we r le ve ls esp ec ial l y lab o urer o r f ar mer cl a s s, s he r ec ei ve s t he wa g e s wi t h va ria tio n fro m me n. Even o rga n i sat io n s e xp e ct m o r e o u tp ut fr o m me n a n d ma n y o r g a ni sa tio n s h av e t he ir head s a s me n . E ve n wo me n e mp l o ye es a s a wh o l e li ke to s ee a ma n as t h eir head . Rep o r t s i nd ic at e th at wo ma n i s d e f ic ie n t i n ma k i n g q ui c k d e ci si o n s. “He r mi nd , wi t h i ts gr ea ter faci li t y wi t h i t wh i c h co n n ect s t he el e me nt s to b e co ns i d ered ma k es t he d eci s io n a lto g et h er mo re

www.ijhssi.org

37 | P a g e


Apocalypse And Explication - A Study On Female Phase… co mp le x t h a n it i s f o r t he ma n , wh o r el ie s mo r e o n ca lc u lat ed fo r mu l ai c d ed uct i ve p ro ce ss es ”. ( An n e Mo ir an d D a vid J e s se l - 1 6 8 ) . U nd o ub ted l y, t her e ar e wo me n wh o are s up erio r to me n i n i nt el l ig e nce , i n in te ll ect , i n mu s cle p o wer ; t he y r u le wi t h a n ir o n ro d li k e Mr s. I nd ir a Ga nd hi , Mar gar et T hatc h er, M a ya va t hi , J a ya la li t ha, Mar ie C uri e e tc. “No o ne wo uld d e n y t hat so me wo me n are mo re i nt el li ge n t t h a n mo st me n, no r t hei r s u p erio ri t y, ve rb al ab i li t y wh ic h co uld ma k e th e m b et ter d o cto r s, p r i es ts , l e gi sl ato r s a nd j u d ge s t ha n me n. ” ( An n e Mo ir a nd D a vid J es sel - 1 6 3 ) W he t her d a u g h ter s, o r mo t her s o r wi v es o f t h e fa t her s, t he y all fo llo w th e fat he rs ‟ trad i tio n , se t - up , et iq uet te, ed uca tio n a nd co n st i tu tio n . “W e ar e b o t h t h e d a u g h ter s o f t h e ma le trad i tio n , o f o ur teac h er s , o ur p ro fes s o rs, o ur d i s ser tat io n ad v i ser s a nd o ur p ub li s her s - a tr ad i tio n wh ic h a s ks us to b e ra ti o na l, ma r gi n al a nd gra te fu l”. ( ES - 4 0 7 ) Mal e tr ad i tio n tr ea ts a wo ma n a s ra tio n al wh e n s h e b e h a ve s no r ma l. “ No r ma l” i n th e se n se t h at s h e mu s t b e s ub mi s si v e a nd s ub s e rv ie nt t o me n. S he mu s t b e lo ya l to mal e trad i tio n b eca u se it p r o vid e s her p r o t ec tio n a n d p eace. I t he lp s h er r eal ize h er d rea ms . Si g n i fi ca nt l y, it i s gl ad d en i n g a nd e x hi lar at i n g , i f a wo ma n b e i n g a ra tio na l i n t h e ma le trad i tio n , a ct s a s a c h a mp io n o f t h e c a u s e o f ma n l i ke Mo t her T her e sa wh o s er ved t he d es ti t ute ir r e sp ect i ve o f ma n o r wo ma n, a N a xa li te wh o fi g h t s fo r t he s up p r es sed a nd d ep ri ved cla s se s, a p o l it ici a n wh o i s co m mi t ted act i vel y to p ub lic s er vi c e, a n i nte ll ect u al wh o s u rp ri se s t he so c ie t y wi t h her e nl i g ht e n me n t. So me wo me n mo ve me n ts ad vo cat e i nd ep e nd e n t li fe t ha t rej ect s ma le d o mi n at ed trad i tio n a nd c u lt ur e. S uc h li f e i s co n s id ered d ev ia tio n, ab err at io n a nd a ffro nt o n t he trad i tio n al a nd mo r al s o cie t y”... . Si st er s i n a ne w wo me n ‟s mo ve me n t wh i c h e n ge nd er s ano t her k i nd o f t he P se ud o - s uc ce ss o f to ke n wo ma n ho o d , a nd t he iro n ic ma s k s o f acad e mi c d eb a te”. ( E S - 4 0 7 ) Harr y B l a mir es r ai se s t wo q u eri es co mb i n ed wi th a ns wer s fur n i s hed b y th e wo me n wr i ter s i n ge n er a l ab o ut wh e t h er , a wo ma n wr i ter ca n wr ite l i ke ma le wr it er wi t h d is ti n ct i ve a sp e ct o f li t er at ur e? o r wh e t her c an t he wo ma n wri ter m erg e her wri ti n g i n th e mai n s tr ea m o f wr i t in g? T o t he fir st q ue s tio n, wo me n wr iter s a c cep t t h e se x u al / b io lo gi ca l var ia tio n a nd to t he s eco nd , t he y d e ma nd t h at t h e ir k i nd o f li ter at ur e mu s t b e p art o f t he ma le o r i e nt e d lite r at ur e wh i c h ha s b ee n e nj o yi n g so c ia l p re s ti ge fro m t he t i me i m me mo r ia l. “Do wo me n wr i ter s a c hie v e e q ua li t y b y p ro d uci n g a lit era t ure c lear l y d is ti n g u i s hab l e i n it s o wn r i g h t, o r d o t he y ac h ie ve it b y m erg i n g t h eir wo r k ind i st i n g ui s hab l y i n t h e lit er ar y ma i n str ea m? In t h e fo r mer c as e t he y ac cep t a s e xi st d i ffere n ti at io n. I n t h e la tter ca se t h e y yi eld to a s si mil at io n”. (H a rr y B la mi re s - A Hi sto r y o f Liter ar y Cr i ti ci s m - 3 7 7 ) . F urt h er , me n ar e no t o nl y d yn a mic a nd a g gr es s i v e b u t i n no vat i ve, art fu l, sc he mat ic in v e nt i n g n e w t he o r ie s so me ti me s o b sc ur e o ne s to e ntr e nc h t he ir p o s it io n a s ma sc u li ne and so me ti me s s up er h u ma n ; t h e y m ys t i fy t he r ead er wi t h s uc h fi rs t t i me u sed tec h n ica l ter ms wh i c h ne ed s p ec i al d e fi n it io n a nd e xp l i cat io n b y t he a ut ho r hi ms e l f o r b y t heir clo se a s so c iat e s. M e n gi v e s uc h i mp re s sio n t h at t h e y cr eat e t h eo rie s o f t he h i g her le ve l wh ic h o nl y me n o f i nte ll ect d es er ve to e xp li cat e wh i le wo me n a nd lo wer me n are o rd ai n ed to s t ud y l i ter a t ur e wh i c h is d ee me d a s o f i n feri o r o r med io cre ca te go r y . El ai ne S ho wa lte r ma i nt ai n s, “T h e ne w sc ie nc es o f t he te x t b ased o n li n g u i st ic s, c o mp u ter s, g e ne tic str u ct ur al is m, d e co ns tr u ctio n i s m, n eo - fo r ma li s m a nd d e fo r ma li s m, a ffe c ti ve s t yl i st ic s a n d p s yc ho - ae st he ti cs ha v e o f f er ed li ter ar y cri tic s” t he o p p o rt u n it y to d e mo n st rat e t hat t h e wo r k t h e y d o i s a s ma nl y a nd a g gr e ss i ve a s N u c lear P h ys i c s - no t i nt u it i ve, e xp r es s i ve a nd fe mi n i ne, b u t str e n uo u s , r i go r o u s, i mp er so n al a nd wri te. .. Lit erar y sc ie nc e, i n i t s ma n ic ge n era tio n o f d i f f ic u lt ter mi n o lo g y ... Cr eat e s an e li te co r p s o f sp e c ial i st s wh o sp e nd mo r e a nd mo r e ti me ma s ter i n g t h e t h eo r y... we a re mo vi n g to ward s a t wo - tier ed s ys te m o f „h i g her ‟ a nd „ lo we r ‟ cr i tic i s m, t h e hi g her co nce rned wi t h t h e s cie n ti fic p ro b le ms o f fo r m and s tr uc t ur e, t h e „ lo we r ‟ co ncer n ed wi t h t he „h u ma n i st ic ‟ p ro b le ms o f co n te nt a nd in terp r et at io n”. ( ES - 4 0 6 ) .

www.ijhssi.org

38 | P a g e


Apocalypse And Explication - A Study On Female Phase… Fro m t h e p o i nt o f f e mal e va l ue s a s a ffir med b y Vir gi n ia W o l f, t he ro le o f wo ma n ch arac ter c a n b e ta ke n fr o m t h e ear l y no v el s o f An it a De sa i wh o p o r t ra ys wo ma n as a se n si ti v e, so met i me s, h yp er se n s it i ve, ap o li tic al, p r i va te a nd cr ed u lo u s, a nd u n h yp o cr it ic al. I n h er no ve l s, t he p r o ta go n i st d e ma nd s a d r ea m wo r ld o f h er o wn a nd fi nd s th e ma n irr e co nc ilab le and o b s tr uc ti ve fo rce. Co mp ro mi s e wi t h her in n at e na t ure i s a s ui cid e . An i ta De sa i d esc r ib e s i n h er no ve l, F ire o n t he Mo u n tai n a co up le li v i n g i n a ho u se b u il t o n t he h il l at Car i g na no . T h e co u p le we re hap p y fo r so m eti me i n t he ho u se wh ic h wa s co n str u ct e d and o c c up i ed ear li er i n 1 8 4 3 b y An g l o -I nd ia n s, Co lo n el Macd o n ga ll a nd hi s wi f e , Alec. T he wi fe, Ma v is , s tab s i nto her h usb a nd ‟s e ye fo r he a s k s her to p r ep ar e J a m fo r h i m. He li ve s wi t h o ne e ye wh i le s h e h url s h ers e l f fro m t he cl i ff to her d ea t h. “Hi s J o y wo uld h a ve b e e n co mp le te i f hi s wi fe h ad mad e h i m ap rico t J a m. B u t s he wo u ld no t, s h e h at e d hi m to o mu c h to co o k J a m fo r h i m. T he lo n g er t heir ma rri a ge, th e mo re s h e h ated h i m a nd al mo s t d ai l y s he mad e a n at te mp t to mu rd er h i m. B u t he s ur vi v ed . W he n , s he h ad her b a c k t ur ned he wo u ld p o ur o u t t he tea s he had b re wed fo r hi m i n to a p o t o f ger a ni u ms b es id e h i s c ha ir a n d s ile n tl y wa tc h t he m d ro o p a nd d i e. He wo k e to s ee he r t he s ec o nd b e f o r e s he p l u n ged t he k itc h e n k ni fe i n to hi m a nd lear n t to sl eep wi t h o n e e ye o p e n til l he we nt b li nd - b u t th at wa s a fter M a vi s d i e d : s lip p i n g o n h er wa y to t he o utd o o r k it c he n , s h e p l u n g ed d o wn t he cl i ff a nd sp li t her h e ad o p e n o n a ro c k, and so h e l i ved o n s a fe l y a n d d ied „p ea ce fu ll y‟ as t he y sa y .... ” (F OM - 7 ) T he P r o t a go ni st, N a nd a Ka u l , i n F ire o n t he Mo u nt ai n, set tl es a t Car i g n ano to le ad so l it ar y li fe i n o r d er to cr eat e p eac e a ft er ha v i n g b ee n go t b o red a nd d is g u s ted wi t h her act i ve so c ial li f e a s a wi fe o f a V ic e - C ha nc ello r wh o l at er d ie s. B ut , t he p eac e s he ac hie v e s i s d i sr up t ed wi th t h e ar r i va l o f h er gr e at gr a nd d a u g h ter, R a k h a, wh o a ged ab o ut 1 2 is a n e n f a nt ter r ib le fo r s he i s tac it ur n b y na tu re a nd d o e s s ho w t he si g n s o f ad u lt. T o Na nd a K a ul s he wa s st il l a n i ntr ud er , a n o ut s id e r, a mo sq ui to flo wn up fro m t h e p la i n s to tea se a nd wo r r y”. ( F OM - 4 0 ) B o th N a nd a Ka u l a nd R ak h a e v i nc e t hat t h e y a r e sic k a t so ul ; o n e is b y le ad i n g a li fe o f lo n g d r a wn so ci al o b l i ga tio n ; a no t h er b y b i rt h i t se l f. T he y ap p ear car r yi n g t h e p red ic a me n t a nd t he ab s ur d i t y o f h u ma n e x is te nc e t ho u g h t he wri ter ma i nt ai n s t hat t he y are vic ti ms o f t he ir o wn a nd k no wn r ea so ns . “I f Na nd a Ka u l wa s a recl u s e o u t o f ve n g ea nc e fo r a lo n g li f e o f d ut y a nd o b l i ga tio n , h er gre at - g ra nd - d a u g ht er wa s a r ec l us e b y n at ure , b y i ns ti n ct. S he h ad no t arr i ved a t t hi s co nd i t io n b y a lo n g ro u te o f rej ec tio n and s acri fic e - s he wa s b o r n to i t, si mp l y. ” ( FO M -4 8 ). Na nd a K a ul r e ce i ve s a mo r ta l b lo w wi t h t he s u d d en a nd sad d e at h o f h er c hild ho o d b o so m frie nd M s.I ll a D as wh o had b ee n rap ed and stra n g u la ted b y P re eti S i n g h wh e n s he tried to p re v e nt h i m fr o m ma r r yi n g h i s d a u g h ter to a n o ld ma n. T h e ti tl e F ire o n t he Mo u n ta i n si g n i fi es t ha t mo u n ta i n o n wh i c h fo res t i s se t o n fire, rep r ese n t s t ha t u n le s s wo rld i s d e str o ye d , wo ma n c a n no t e nj o y i n no ce nce, hap p i ne s s, lo ve and p e ace wi t h a se n se o f d i v i ni t y. If a wo ma n b el ie v es i n so me t hi n g o r so meb o d y s he la ys fai t h i n it b li nd l y fo re v er. S he re fu se s e it her to r et hi n k o r s hed wh a t irr atio n al l y b el ie ved . F ur th er, s he i s mo re s up er st it io u s a nd mo r e r el i gio u sl y g u l lib le t h an ma n. H a velo c k E l li s sa ys “W o me n d is li k ed t he e s se n ti all y in te lle ct u al p ro c es s o f a n al ys i s - “T h e y ha ve t he i n s tr uct i ve fe el i n g t ha t a n al ys i s m a y p o ss ib l y d e st ro y t he e mo t io na l co mp l e xe s b y wh i c h t he y are lar ge l y mo ved a nd wh ic h a p p ea l to t he m. ” ( Q uo ted b y An n e Mo ir & D a vid J e ss el - 1 3 ). W he n a str o lo ger tel l s t h e p r o p he s y i n An i ta De sa i ‟s C r y T he P e aco c k ( 1 9 6 3 ) t ha t o ne o f t h e co up l e ( Ma ya and G a uta m) d ie s i n t h e fo ur t h year o f t he ir m arria g e, Ma ya g et s s ho c ked . T he id ea o f d eat h b eco me s o b se s sio n i n her mi nd . La ter, s he d o e s no t le ad no r ma l li fe. W h e n s he i n fo r ms h er h u sb a nd , Ga ut a m o f t he p ro p he s y, h e s li g h t s i t a nd he hi n t s l i ke a B ud d ha t h a t o n e mu s t b e p rep a red fo r a n y e v e nt ua li t y. S he e n ra ge s a t h i s cal lo us a tt it ud e to war d t he p r o p h es y. I n An it a De sai ‟s no ve l s , wo ma n i s a fraz il i ntro v ert and s h e ha st e ns t he fat e to d e vo ur h er ra t her t ha n to a llo w i t to ta k e i t s o wn co ur se.

www.ijhssi.org

39 | P a g e


Apocalypse And Explication - A Study On Female Phase… Ma ya b e co me s a n e ur o t i c a nd q ue st io ns h er sel f wh o i s to d ie b e t we e n h ers el f a nd Ga ut a m? S i nce he d o e s no t s ho w a n y co nc er n ab o u t t he p ro p he s y a nd ab o ut he r me n ta l ago n y t ha t s he s u f f er s f r o m her o b se s sio n ab o u t t he fo rec as t, h e mu s t d ie. S h e l ead s h i m to t he t erra ce a nd t h r o ws hi m to h i s d ea t h. “An d th e n Ga u ta ma mad e a mi s ta k e - h i s la s t, d eci si v e o ne. I n tal k i n g , ge s t ur i n g, h e mo ved i n fro n t o f me .. . “G a uta m a”. I s cre a med i n fur y, a nd t hr u st o ut m y ar ms to war d s h i m, o ut a t hi m, i nto hi m a nd p a st hi m, sa w h i m fal l. th e n, p as s t hr o u g h a n i m me n s it y o f a ir, d o wn t o t he v er y b o tto m. ” ( C r y, T he P e aco c k 2 0 8 ). T he nar r ato r , J a ya, wh o i s a l so t h e P ro t a go ni st in S ha s hi De s hp a nd e ‟s no ve l, T hat Lo n g S il e nce ( 1 9 8 8 ) , le ad s a co mf o rt ab le l i fe a s a ho u se wi fe wi t h t wo ch ild r e n u n ti l t h e arre st a nd s u sp e n s io n o f her h usb a nd fro m ser vi ce fo r h i s co rr up t p ra cti ce s. W he n her fa it h up o n her h u sb a nd ‟ s c h ar ac ter i s s h at tered , s h e i s fo rc ed to p rac ti se „ t he rep et it i ve ne s s a nd b o r ed o m o f wo ma n ‟s li fe ‟ a n d s ub j ect s he rs el f to “T ha t Lo n g Si le nc e” wi t h a st rea m o f co n sc io u s ne s s. Na mi ta Go k h ale i n her f ir s t no v el P aro : Dr ea ms o f P as s io n (1 9 8 4 ) , p re s e nt s fe ma le p ha se mo d e l t h e me. S h e cr e ate s a p ro ta go ni s t, P aro wh o ha s b ee n v io l ated b y l ur i n g a nd la sci v io u s me n s i nce h er s c ho o l d a ys . S h e co m mi ts s i ns fo r a b e t ter o r p e r ma ne n t rela tio n s hip o r wed lo c k b ut s he f i nd s o nl y t he e nd o f t he re lat io n s hi p o r wed lo c k. B ro ke n rela tio n s hip o r wed lo c k s fi n al l y d r i v e her to b e co me fre n z y a nd to co m mi t s ui cid e. B o t h P aro a nd t he Na r r ato r , P r i ya S h ar ma s ho w t h e fe mal e q ua li tie s s uc h a s “P o ss e ss i ve ne s s, P as sio n, J e alo u s y a nd P r id e”. An a tte mp t h as b ee n mad e to b ri n g o ut t he asp ect s o f Fe mi n i st a nd Fe mi n i n e P ha se s t ha t he lp u s e v al ua te t h e d i st i nct i ve t rait s b e t we e n t h e t hre e sta g es . So me o f S ha s hi De s hp a nd e ‟ s no v el s i nd ic ate i n va riab l y t he F e mi n i st mo d e o f p ro te st a nd i mi tat io n. In h er no ve l, e sp ec ia ll y, T he Dar k Ho ld s No T er ro r (1 9 8 0 ), W o ma n i s t h e p ro t a go ni st wh o d efie s t h e mal e tr ad it io n e n tr e nc h i n g her se l f a n e xe mp lar y c hara cter . Sh e s urp as s es t he trad i tio n al e mp as se a nd p s yc ho lo gic al co n fli ct s wh ic h ar e e ns u ed i n t he wa k e o f o p p o s i n g th e es tab li s hed i n st it u ti o na l d ecr e e a nd p o we r. S ari ta, t h e p ro ta go ni s t, p ro ve s t ha t t he b irt h o f g ir l c h ild is n o lo n ger a c ur se a nd st ud i e s med ic i ne a nd b ec o me s a s ucc es s f u l d o cto r a nd get s ma r r i ed to a ma n o f her o wn c ho ice. In Fe mi n i n e wr it i n g, wo me n wr ite rs i mi ta te no t o nl y t he mal e wr it i n g b ut al so u se ma le mo d e l t h e me s o r p r o b le ms . I n Go d o f S ma ll T hi n g s (1 9 9 7 ), Ar u nd ha ti Ro y d ea l s wi t h t h ree t h e me s - Co m mu n i s m, S yr ia n C hr i st ia ni t y a nd Ca s tei s m. S he p o i n t s o u t t hat Ind ia n Co m mu n i s t s wa g e war a g ai n st cla s s b arr ier s o n Eco no mi c Sta t u s , wh e n t he C as te s ys te m, ca ste i s m a nd u nto u c hab il it y p re va il , d ep ri vi n g t h e Da li ts o f th eir fu nd a me nt al ri g ht s. B o t h co m mu n i s ts a nd t he S yri a n C hr is tia n s p r ac ti se ca st ei s m as t he y are up p er cas te co n ver t s id eo lo g ic all y a nd r el i gio u s l y. I n Lo s s o f I n h eri ta nc e, Ki ran D es ai p re se n ts th e t h e me o f s tr u g gl e fo r sep ar at e sta te. It is t he q u es tio n o f B o d o s a n d B o d o la nd wh i c h co mp ri se s K al i mp o n g a nd Dar j ee li n g. B e n gal i s wh o se tt led i n D arj eel in g a nd K al i mp o n g ha v e b e e n p l u nd er ed a n d t hr e ate n ed o f t he ir e xi s te nc e. T he y are t hr o wn i n to co ns ta n t fe ar, a li e na tio n a nd e str an g e me n t. Ela i ne S ho wa l ter sa ys t hat F e mi n is t Cr it ic is m, wh i c h is o t her wis e ca ll ed “g yn o cri ti cs ”, tr e at s wo ma n as a r ead er wh o i s t o in terp r et t h e te x t i n a n a u to no mo u s wa y and a s a crea ter o f her o wn t e xt wi t h her o wn la n g ua g e wi t h i nd ep e nd e n t s t yl e t h at re ve al her a sp irat io n s, s u sc ep t i b ili ti e s, v ic is s it ud e s, fe l ici t y a nd tra v ai ls a nd fo res i g ht. W hat i s es se n tia ll y n ec es s ita ted th at t he p r o b le m o f wo ma n s ho u ld ne ed d ue at t en tio n, ho no ur a nd j us ti ce. It i s t he ma n wh o is e xp ec ted to c ha mp io n t he ca u s e o f wo m an i n o rd er to wr ite and cri ti ci se o n her b e h al f a nd fi x h er i n h er r i g ht p la ce i n t h e a n na l s o f h u ma n hi s to r y cal li n g fo r co n sid er at e mi n d to fo c u s o n t h e q u in te s se n tia l a nd u n iq ue st at u s o f wo ma n i n th e u ni v ers e. “T he ta s k o f fe mi n i st cri ti cs is to fi nd a ne w l a n g ua g e, a ne w wa y o f read i n g t ha t c a n i n te g r ate o u r i n te ll i ge nc e a nd o ur e xp er ie n ce, o u r rea so n a nd o ur s u ffer i n g, o ur scep ti ci s m a nd o u r vi sio n. T h is e nterp ri se s ho uld no t b e co n fi ned to wo me n; I i n v it e Cr i ti c us , P o eti c us a nd P l u tarc h u s to s h are it wi t h u s.” (E S – 4 0 7 )

www.ijhssi.org

40 | P a g e


Apocalypse And Explication - A Study On Female Phase… REFERENCES [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

Blamires, Harry. A History of Literary Criticism, Macmillan, New Delhi, 2009 (Reprint). Cry, the Peacock, Orient Paperbacks, Delhi, 1989 (Reprint). Desai, Anita. Fire on The Mountain, Allied Publishers Private Limited, New Delhi, 1985 (Reprint). Graying A.C. Toward the Light of Liberty, Walker & Co, New York, 2007. Moir, Anne & David Jessel. Brain Sex, Mandarin, London, 1989. Naik, M.K. A History of Indian English Literature, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, 2011 (Reprint). Sharma, R.S. Anita Desai, Lucas Publications, Liverpool, U.K. 1988. Showalter, Elaine. “Towards A Feminist Poetics”, Contemporary Criticism, Ed. VS Seturaman, Macmillan, Chennai 2007.

www.ijhssi.org

41 | P a g e

G0321035041  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you