Shashi Deshpande is one of India's most distinguished authors, and the winner of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award, and Padma Sri Award. In Indian English fiction, she has a distinctive position as a writer of women-centric novels,with a special drive to unveil the gender imbalance in society. She ventures to explore the life of Indian women with socio-cultural and psycho-ethical paradigms of human existence.
Exploring the theme of woman's subjugation in our male-dominated society, her novels reveal a woman's capacity to assert her own rights and individuality, and become aware of her potential as a human being, like Saru in The Dark Holds No Terrors.Trapped between tradition and modernity, her sensitive heroines are fully conscious of being victims of gross gender discrimination prevalent in a conservative society.Some of her protagonists, like Jaya in That Long Silence, trace their passage in the maze of doubts,fears and uncertainties.
The book seeks to study the feminist perspective in Shashi Deshpande's novels. It reveals Deshpande's sincerity and ability in voicing the concerns of the urban educated middle-class woman. Her writings not only expand our understanding of Indian women's literature, or of representations of women's agency, but also enhance our comprehension of the complex relationships that mediate community and tradition, culture and nation, and of Indian English Literature as a whole. The book will be useful for the students and teachers of English Literature, Indian English Literature,particularlyfiction,and researchers in these fields.
Dr Binod Kumar Roy, M.A. Ph.D., is working as Assistant Professor and Head, Department of English in R.S.S. College, Chochahan, B.R.A. Bihar University. He has to his credit many articles which have been published in books and journals of great repute. He has presented papers in several prestigious seminars and conferences. His areas of interest are Indian English Literature and Gender Studies.
Feminism is a vital area in contemporary intellectual literary discourse. In The Atlantic Review of Feminist Studies, the Editor, Dr Sunita Sinha, remarks succinctly, "The emergence of feminism has been a matter of great enthusiasm to feminists and non-feminists alike since the earliest development of feminism as a concept." Feminism has become a rapidly developing critical ideology of great promise which has evolved into a philosophy encompassing diverse fields of human activity in society. Feminism can be loosely defined as a movement which is aimed at bringing about liberation of women and giving them a voice to speak out for their own rights in a male-dominated society.
Shashi Deshpande is a prominent literary voice which tries to furnish the reader with quintessential woman by closely analyzing the woman's psychological, emotional and intellectual needs and aspirations; cravings and desires; and the conflicts and catastrophes that they inevitably bring in their wake. Women's lives in India, their problems, and the domestic spheres have been consuming themes of most of Deshpande's oeuvre, which consists of seven novels, five collections of short stories, and four children's books. She has addressed various social issues of contemporary India, and gender issues invariably find a prominence in her writing. Deeply concerned about the marginal status of women, her novels may be described as alternative narratives of women's experience. The mode of resistance in her fiction takes the form of redefinition of women's culture and identity in the Indian context.
On the whole, we can say that the novels of Deshpande explore the rapid evolution of the new Indian woman, and the progression of her novels and character depictions (spanning decades) reflects, traces, and captures the rapid social and cultural changes which have been taking place in urban India as a result of swift economic development and expansion. Deshpande's writings highlight social norms which may have been expected to change, but remarkably, either they have not, or else have simply assumed a new guise. By shattering the matrix of man-made stereotypes into which women so far have been stiflingly cast, and by bringing the reader face-to-face with their real nature, Shashi Deshpande tries to carve out the effigy of a new woman who is more palatable and real to the mind of the reader. Deshpande has secured herself a distinguished place among the modern Indian novelists as she "defines freedom for the Indian woman within the Indian socio-cultural value system and institutions. She has steadfastly resisted the temptation of creating strong glorified female heroes, and has presented the Indian woman as facing the very real dilemma of having to choose between modernity and convention".
The Fictional World of Shashi Deshpande: A Critical Study aims at studying the feminist tradition in Shashi Deshpande's novels and analyzing feminism as a living inspiration in all her works. As she develops from Roots and Shadows to Moving On, we notice a deepening of her concern with her protagonist's passionate quest for self and her battle against the offensive control of patriarchy. The book becomes significant in the present social and cultural milieu when the novels emerging in the twenty-first century furnish examples of a whole range of attitudes towards the imposition of tradition, some offering an analysis of the family structure and the caste system as the key elements of patriarchal social organization. Written in nine chapters, the book aims at tracing the feminist tradition in the novels of Shashi Deshpande from Roots and Shadows to Moving On, her latest novel. After the first introductory chapter, I have allotted a chapter each to her seven novels and a concluding chapter.
The book will be useful for the students and teachers of English literature, particularly fiction, and researchers in these fields.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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