The short story “Clothes” is written by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni in 1995. Clothes is about a young Indian woman called Sumita, and she is having an arranged marriage. The story takes place in Calcutta, India, where Sumita lives with her family and her two friends, Deepali and Rhada, before she gets married. Her father has found a great husband from California for her, Somesh Sen. She travels to California with her new husband, and is astonished how USA is, compared to India. Somesh works in a store called 7-eleven. Sumita and Somesh live with their in-laws, and want to move out. Somesh takes night shifts at 7-eleven, the earn some more money. One night, a robber comes in and shots Somesh in the chest so he dies. Sumita comes from a culture based on traditions and old values. Therefore she is expected to get married in the arranged way, where her father finds her the suitable man. This also shows how patriarchal this type of culture is, and how little the women actually have to say for themselves. Her cultural transition to America is symbolized by her clothes and the color.
“Don´t send me so far away. I wanted to cry, but of course I didn´t. It would be ungrateful.. She had done it, and her mother before her. A married woman belongs to her husband, her in-laws..” (P. 173 – L.32)
This sentence shows that she doesn´t want to go to California, but she won´t tell, because her father has done a great job finding this husband for her. According to herself and especially her surroundings, she owes him respect and should be very grateful, because she has the opportunity to get away with this fantastic husband, who she has only met once. She has been brought up with the attitude, that a married women belong to her husband and his family, so she finds it perfectly normal that she is being “showed off” at these bride-viewings, and her future man will choose his wife, only by appearance. Sumita is dressed for her bride-viewing, in a light pink sari...
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