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Relevance of ancient myths in contemporary marital domesticity: a study in Shashi Deshpande’s That Long Silence

By Jewelina Chowdhury


Myths are very important dimensions of cultural and literary experiences. In the modern age, they have become powerful instruments in the preservation of both history and culture. Literary works tends to create or recreate certain mythical narratives which human beings consider crucial to their understanding of the world. Though it surpasses the ordinary human world, traditional values in the form of Hindu scriptures dominate the minds of human beings even today. The scriptures emphasize fulfilling obligations of domesticity and make the man-woman partnership in marriage an indissoluble bond which continues even in contemporary lives. But the rationalization within Hindu moral philosophy at the level of “dharma ” and “karma ” works, interestingly, more to subdue and reconcile woman rather than man to her unavoidable marital domestic duty. Shashi Deshpande has carved a niche in Indian Writing in English as a novelist, short story writer and non-fiction prose writer. Deshpande limits her narrative universe to the issues nearer the domestic space. It is within this space women lies at the core of her novels. Her fictional world focuses on the contemporary urban women caught in the vortex of their socio-cultural existence attempting to resist the dominant scripture of Hindu mythology in their endeavour to establish their identity situated within the marital domesticity. This paper would throw light on Deshpande’s use myths to show how they are deeply rooted in the psyche of the Indian people and their relevance in contemporary marital domesticity in her novel That Long Silence(1988)

Topics: Internalization of myths, anti-women thrust, marital domesticity, feminism, tradition versus modernity. ISSN, 2277-1697
Year: 2016
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