Dislocations In Bharati Mukherjee's Wife

2369 Words 10 Pages
Dislocation can be of different kinds, physical, psychological, emotional and political. It can be estrangement, self- alienation and social ostracism, an exclusion from familiar environments of family, kinship and culture. It can come through political upheaval, mass migration or natural disaster. It can be individual or collective. But no dislocation is ever absolute, terminal or enduring in itself. In it there is always a kind of holding back, a sort of nostalgia, and the perception of difference. There is always a looking back at the transgressive edge of history. This may be through memory, recollection, history, images and fantasy. Dislocations are unavoidable, perhaps essential for the voyage towards maturity, self-knowledge and recognition …show more content…
It centers on the life of a middle class married Bengali woman who migrates from Calcutta to New York. After a ten-year sojourn in Canada Mukherjee returned to her native county in 1973 and encountered an India which she had never anticipated, a world far less innocent than the one she remembered. There is an interesting episode about the genesis of Mukherjee's Wife. Mukherjee and her husband Clarke Blaise spent their sabbatical in Calcutta and worked on their joint non-fictional work titled Days and Nights in Calcutta. At that time, a professor from Columbia University asked Mukherjee, ‘What do Bengali girls do between the age of eighteen and twenty-one?’ Mukherjee replied that a Bengali girl had very few options except to get married. As Blaise explains in Days and Nights in Calcutta, a young girl ‘may end up for she cannot refuse to marry a lout who will not tolerate the slightest deviation from expectancy, or the most pathetic gestures towards …show more content…
The madness is both psychic and cultural, being put in a new location in the New World. She is trapped in a space where, on the one hand, she needs to repress the traces of her Indianness if she hopes to fit in the location, and on the other hand, she has to negotiate the wrecked promises of a liberated world which however discards her. In Dimple her madness, her inability to translate is coterminous with her expatriate status. The novelist locates Dimple perfectly in an American situation and describes her ‘unspeakable failings:’

She has expected pain when she had come to America, had told herself that pain was part of any new beginning, and in the sweet structures of that new life had allotted pain a special place. But she had not expected her mind to be strained like this, beyond endurance. She had not anticipated inertia, exhaustion, endless

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