Brick Lane Essay

1025 Words Sep 22nd, 2012 5 Pages
‘Portrayal of women in literature is heavily influenced by the social and cultural views of its context, but it is the author’s view that matters most’
Through close analysis of Monica Ali’s Brick Lane, one is able to see the various ways women are represented in literature, showing that both social and cultural views of its context, as well as the author’s own view are equally important in crafting an ingenious storyline. In this novel, Ali focuses on several Bengali women as they embark on a journey of self discovery. Ali portrays them as suppressed by their patriarchal culture, by their religion, as well as being resilient fighters against injustice. At times, Ali conforms to Bengali cultural views, however, at others, they are
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In addition, letter extracts throughout the novel depict women as uneducated and freely abused by their husbands, showcasing their unimportance as well as the vast differences in their rights and privileges. Ali further shows the lack of freedom and independence of women in Bengali culture through Chanu’s refusal of Nazneen’s simple request to leave the house in his question ‘Why should you go out?’. Throughout the variety of techniques used in Brick Lane, Monica Ali has depicted women closely representing their cultural context and proved the important point that it is the author’s view that matters the most in one’s interpretation of literature.
Ali in Brick Lane also conforms to Bengali social and cultural norms by representing Bengali women as submissive to God and religion, as it acts as both a guiding force and a suppression. The religious principles outlined in the Qur’an are one of the main issues in Bengali culture, and the effect it has on women’s lifestyle is thoroughly explored in Brick Lane. Ali shows how religion can act as a source of comfort and liberation in the recurring motif of ‘How You Were Left To Your Own Fate’, the story showing the belief that God is the source of Nazneen’s life due to her being a stillborn who came back to life on her own. Hasina’s joyful tone in her exclamation ‘How much He has given me!’ further illustrates how religion is seen as a source of comfort

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