Discrimination In Shashi Deshpande's The Dark Holds No Terrors

Sarikhada Pradip
Ph.D. English Scholar
Rai University, Ahmedabad

Shashi Deshpande’s novels are strong voice for the women’s cause. In her novels, Women are seen under the patriarchal clutches but her women try to liberate themselves from that suffocating male-dominated environment. This paper explores the themes of gender-discrimination in Shashi Deshpande’s novel The Dark Holds No Terrors. This novel explores the story of a secluded and rejected girl, (Sarita) Saru who has to face gender discrimination since her birth. She is held responsible by her mother for
…show more content…
She says that she must not come in front of her father in petticoat just because she is grown up now. Thus, her adolescence becomes a curse for her. Her freedom is curtailed and she is put under pressure for everything. Don’t come out in your petticoat like that. Not even when it’s only your father who’s around. And it became something shameful, this growing up, so that you had to be ashamed of yourself, even in the presence of your father. (62) This reminds us the very beautiful line “To be young is dangerous” (23) by a maid servant Pari in Rama Mehta’s novel Inside the Haveli. In this novel the central character Geeta is kept under purdah (veil) and she is not allowed to see the males of his home and she could meet her husband also only at night and during day time no male was seen in the haveli. When Saru expectedly gets a gift to wear in her ears, she gets happy for some time. Initially she thinks that her mother has given her gift out of love but when she comes to know that this was not a gift but a necessity, a necessity of time, for her grown up body, then his happiness proves short-lived. She thinks that all this is done not to make her happy but just because she is a grown up girl now, ‘You are a big girl now. Time you had something nice to wear in your ears. We must make you some gold bangles next …show more content…
He is a sadist who takes pleasure in Saru’s pain especially when her psyche is hurt. He behaves very cruelly with her whenever he thinks that he has been insulted or humiliated. When people respect Saru and pay no attention to Manu then he takes his revenge at night while copulating:
Just hurtling hands, the savage teeth, the monstrous assault of a horribly familiar body. And above me, a face I could not recognize. Total non-comprehension, complete bewilderment, paralyzed me for a while. Then I began to struggle. But my body, hurt and painful, could do nothing against the fearful strength which overwhelmed me. (112)
Thus, men think themselves the proprietor and they consider their wives their property. The only duty of all the women is just to please their husbands: “Everything in a girl’s life... was shaped to that single purpose of pleasing a male.” (163) In the India it is a rule for a woman just to obey the order of her husband blindly and if she doesn’t comply then she is tortured, curbed, socially ostracized or murdered. It is said that the successful life will be only when the wife is inferior to man in every respect as is said in the

Related Documents