Gender Discrimination in Samuel Selvon's Those Who Eat Cascudura

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A SEMINAR PAPER ON
Gender Discrimination IN SAMUEL SELVON’S THOSE WHO EAT CASCADURA Samuel Selvon’s novel ‘Those Who Eat the Cascadura’ (1990) depicts the picture of post-colonial Trinidad and Tobago. It speaks of the three communities living together on the island: native Caribbeans, Indian migrant-slaves and white colonisers. The process of colonialism is responsible for the migration of Indians who were trafficked by the colonisers to work on their plantations. Women from three different communities and cultures are presented in the novel. The action takes place in Sans Souci, a small cocoa estate near Port-of-Spain, which is owned by a white immigrant named Roger Franklin. The plantation exhibits a divided community; the white master, the Indians and the blacks. The very first person encountered in the novel is Manko, the local obeahman, who does not hesitate to exploit naive people and finds a weak identity in the remnants of African religion. Eloisa, Franklin's black cook, is also his surrogate wife and mother, but she lives with him in what might perhaps be described as a state of immense happiness. The other inhabitants of the cocoa plantation are Indians. Although, the Indians and the blacks share common characteristics, they are not fully developed as individuals. Instead, they are generally stereotyped as blacks as observed by Selvon in the novel. This novel is a live example of condition of women in the post-colonial nations, especially West Indies. Since they belong to different cultures, the intensity of their exploitation and sufferings varies. It is clearly seen that all the women in the novel are victims of the patriarchal societies, though they belong to different countries, different cultures and have different social status. They are brought up in such a way that they eventually get sub-ordinary status to the superior status of men in the society and they cooperate in their own exploitation. Simone de Beauvoir’s claim that one is not born woman, but one becomes woman, is clearly applicable to all the characters. Their freedom, opinions, emotions and rights are always neglected and they are treated like animals and commodities. It is also true that they are either treated as divine entities or as evil entities and never as human beings with feelings. They are also victims of cultural conflicts and racial conflicts. They are never considered as equal to men. They are always forced make sacrifices for the happiness and rights of men.

The conditions in which the post-colonial women have been living are so horrible. They do not resist and rebel against their exploitation and tortures, except Sarojini. Finally she also succumbs to dominant ideology. They are not aware of their own freedom, emotions and rights. Due to the colonisation process, some of the women are thrice marginalised. They are also victims of gender discrimination. They are supposed to be passive, emotional and delicate. Mrs. Gladys Franklin is first of the five women in the novel and only woman who belongs to the developed country, colonisers’ community and dominant race. She had been in premarital relationship with Franklin. He marries her only because, he thought that she is pregnant. Later on he came to know that she is not pregnant. Franklin does not love and never takes her seriously. So to get rid of her, he brings her to Trinidad. He knew it well that she may not survive in the climate on the Trinidad. He wanted to get rid of the dreary burden of living with someone he does not love. Though she is from one of the developing nation, belongs to coloniser’s community and dominant white race, succumbs to the evil plans of Mr. Franklin, suffers and dies in Trinidad. She is one of the victims of patriarchal set-up of the society; wherein women are given marginalised status in all domains and they are forced cooperate in their own exploitation. So, she is once marginalised from the men in her community. Eloisa is the second of the five...
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