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Women in Shashi Deshpande's The Dark Holds No Terrors and Roots and Shadows: A Critical Study

Sadia Afrin, Zubair Al Mahmud, Mohammad Ashiquzzaman Bhuiyan
Published: 30 December 2022

Abstract: Patriarchal domination and female submissiveness are common phenomena in almost all societies and cultures. Shashi Deshpande, an Indian female novelist, describes all kinds of visible and invisible physical, psychological, and ideological oppression caused by patriarchy in microscopic details in her novels The Dark Holds No Terrors and Roots and Shadows. Deshpande celebrates the freedom of women by creating two strong female characters, Sarita and Indu, who pay attention to their inner consciences, celebrating female emancipation and feminine identity. The patriarchy controls a notable proportion of female characters in English literature who remain silent, passive, and inactive. William Shakespeare's Desdemona, Ophelia, Thomas Hardy's Tess, Emily Bronte's Catherine, Isabella, Charlotte Bronte's Bertha Mason, and D. H. Lawrence's Miriam are all depicted as being helpless, frail, and feeble at the hands of patriarchy. Deshpande, on the other hand, is successful in showing how her female protagonists transform and become more aware of their place in society. Through these two selected novels, she depicts patriarchal dominance and the frustration that women encounter in marital relationships. Therefore, the general objective of this paper is to portray the lifelong struggle of women to find their genuine identities and a position for themselves in families, societies, and cultures. This study attempts to unravel the true nature of patriarchy, which persists in society in different shapes and forms to confine women by despising their inner strength and individuality.
Keywords: Patriarchy / Feminism / Identity / Emancipation / Society / Consciousness / Dilemma

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