Sectarian and Sexual Lines in Indian Writing in English
Chapter 11: The Isolated Female Body: Sita’s Daughters and Anita Desai’s Fire on the Mountainand Fasting, Feasting, among Other Novels
← 134 | 135 →CHAPTER 11
The Isolated Female Body: Sita’s Daughters and Anita Desai’s Fire on the Mountain and Fasting, Feasting, among Other Novels
Indian women writers have long been neglected but are now the subject of academic research, reflecting the emergence of feminist critiques in India.1 One of the main themes of these critiques is female subjectivity. Sita-like self-denying and long-suffering women are often represented in Indian literature, however, certain figures in modern fiction offer themselves as alternative models.
In R. K. Narayan’s The Dark Room (1938), Anita Desai’s Fire on the Mountain (1977) and Fasting, Feasting (1999), Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things (1997), and Githa Hariharan’s The Thousand Faces of Night (1992) we see not only bizarre forms of domestic violence and self-denying women but also anti-Sitas who leave home and violate the law of the threshold. We see too women who help each other through shared pain and humiliation and form an invisible network with other women.
← 135 | 136 →In Search of an Anti-Sita Model
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