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Voicing the Devoiced : Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and the Gendered Language

Authors: Joy Jacob, Ms. Sheeba Thomas

Country: India View / Download Full Text PDF File


Abstract: Fiction has become a transparent window on the world, unfolding the manifold events that occur in the day to day life. It is a genre that depicts the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusion of wit and humour to be conveyed to the world in the most chosen language. Literature has always been a handy tool for exploring gender relations and sexual differences. Feminist scholarships undertake to deconstruct the social construction of gender and the subsidiary cultural paradigms that suppress it. Gender issues have attracted greater attention in the recent Indian fiction written in English and regional languages. They acquired greater focus in the hands of women writers. The role of women in Indian society and the iconic image of the female in India have continuously passed through an evolutionary process and literature has always been the principal medium to create and articulate this feminine image. Because she is a Polish-German by birth, English by education, Indian by marriage, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s Indianess is very much challenged and questioned. She calls herself a European writer who writes about India. Her novels unleash her ire against the male supremacy that deprives a space for women in society. Her portrayal of India and Indian women is more Indian than many of her counterparts. Her world is largely personal and domestic depicting the suffering and frustrated Indian housewives and her works teach them to establish an identity apart from the one conferred by the patriarchal machines. Jhabvala, in her novels, presents a blatantly realistic picture of the post Independence familial and social scene of urban India. Jhabvala perceives women especially, and life generally, as submerged in the decadent, materialistic and insensitive male world. But her women recognize the role of man in a woman’s life as an exploiting force on several spheres and levels that she has to depend on her own degree or tolerance for survival. Jhabvala lays bare the Indian women as somebody other than the Sati-Savitri of tradition, steeped in orthodoxy, hemmed in by taboos and leading a life of subordination. She displays the Indian women as someone who overcomes handicaps, can live with pain and come out of it, can live as a modern woman, modern in outlook, Indian in origin, and with a strong mooring in traditional values.

Keywords: Feminism, Subjugated Women, Marginalized Women, Patriarchal Dominance, Gender Discrimination


Paper Id: 1165

Published On: 2021-08-01

Published In: Volume 9, Issue 4, July-August 2021

Cite This: Voicing the Devoiced : Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and the Gendered Language - Joy Jacob, Ms. Sheeba Thomas - IJIRMPS Volume 9, Issue 4, July-August 2021.

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