That Long Silence Shashi Deshpande Analysis

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HOMECOMING FROM ‘SOCIETY’ TO ‘SELF’: A READING OF
SHASHI DESHPANDE’S THAT LONG SILENCE
T. Akki Raju, Asst. Professor of English, RRDS Govt. Degree College, Bhimavaram & Prof. K. Ratna Shiela Mani, Dept. of English, Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur.
Abstract
The paper is an attempt to explore how Shashi Deshpande portrays the ambivalent attitude of the educated, Indian women through Jaya, the central character in That Long Silence. Jaya’s journey from ‘self’ to ‘society’ and from ‘society’ to ‘self’ records the traumatic experiences she has undergone in patriarchal society. Though brought up in a traditional Indian family, she is able to maintain her individuality till she reaches marriageable age. Life after marriage has transformed her
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Before she attained marriageable age, Jaya has been strong and firm with her own dreams and aspirations about life. In an insensitive society, she has often nourished her assertive ‘self.’ However, notwithstanding her unwillingness, she is later made to adjust with patriarchal ideology. She has lost her ‘self’ and faded into a conventional woman of no voice. The traditional society makes her ‘a woman,’ a weak creature confined to pre-determined roles, as Simone de Beauvoir says, “One is not born but rather becomes a woman. No biological, psychological or economic fate determines the figure that the human female presents in society; it is civilization as a whole that produces this creature, intermediate between male and eunuch which is described as feminine” (Beauvoir …show more content…
She is not afraid of anyone or anything. When she is nagged by Ai’s pestering questions like “Why are you so late? Who was that you were talking to? Where are you going now?” Jaya boldly says to her brother: “She can’t dictate me. I’ll do just what I want” (75). Jaya’s father fails to convince her to love the music of Paluskar and Faiz Khan instead of Rafi and Lata. A girl of such strong convictions and firm opinions, Jaya has later become “almost the stereotype of a woman; nervous, incompetent, needing male help and support” (76). The psychological trauma in Jaya begins when she has her first quarrel with Mohan. Feeling sick of the smell of oil and spices in the first months of her pregnancy, she casually asks Mohan: “Why don’t you do the cooking today? … I’m sure you cook well. After all, your mother was a cook”

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