Girls: Gender and Narrator

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* India is a land of myth and fable, of tradition and modernity. And the reality of modern India is its struggle for development, a people striving to overcome the problems of overpopulation, poverty, gender discrimination, ecological degradation and urban decay.

Practices of gender inequality greatly influence the socialisation process of women in India. Most households, even today, prefer male children to female, because ‘they will carry on the family name’. Thus the ever-increasing numbers of female infanticide and female foeticide every year. The IMR (infant mortality rate) at the national level is higher for females than males. Girls are consistently short-changed when it comes to their share of the basic resources of food, education and health care, because a lower value is placed on their survival and wellbeing. A girl infant is often breastfed for a shorter period and is taken less often to a health care centre than a male infant. In fact, one out of three girl children in India does not live to see her fifteenth birthday.

* Girls is a socially relevant and vocal short story that is centered on the theme of oppression of girls in certain sections of the Indian society. The story is narrated from the point of view of an unnamed girl who is unwilling to accept herself as a "trouble" or a "nuisance". She registers her protest by refusing to give in to the hypocrisy of the society which worships women as goddesses on the one hand, while demeaning and abusing them continually in real day to day life. This story was first published in 1983 in Hindi in the journal Dharmyug. The present edited version was translated into English by Rama Baru. The story is relevant in the present context of changing gender roles, attitudes and definitions. It reminds us that there are still many sections of society where the fight and the struggle for gender equality is still in its nascent stages.

SUMMARY

1.The story 'Girls' deals with the way Indian women is treated in our society. it basically tells us the unjustified idolatry of the male child and a woman's sensitive perspective and the hypocrisy of some rituals. it shows us how we treat women in our modern society. the whole story is narrated by an eight year old girl, who is the second daughter of a middle class family. her mother is a very irritable person, as she is going through her fourth pregnancy, and fervently hopes that it's a boy this time.

2. the story highlights how Indian society takes its women for granted and thus women play a secondary role in the family. the author presents a critical look at Indian society, which in spite of all the progress and modernization we see around us, continues to mistreat its women.

at the end of the story when the narrator yells asking if people don't love girls why do they pretend to worship them? shows the fate role of girls in the story as well as in Indian Society

it mainly deals with the different and unjust treatment rendered to girls in a middle class Indian family. it deals with gender discrimination. the protagonist is the 9 year old girl and she has been given so much unimportance that even her name isn't mentioned in the story. she is always very insecure and nervous but also has a rebellious streak in her due to which she gets her point across to the others!the desensitized mother is very unsympathetic and thinks that girls do not have their own identity and come after boys despite her also being a female,

Reference to Context Questions 
Courtesy Franksons 
1. She turned to me and ordered me to go out and play. I always seemed to turn up at the wrong time and at the wrong place. As I was leaving the room, I managed to pick up a piece of the broken surahi which I enjoyed sucking….. 

(i) Who is “I”? Why do you think her mother asks her to go out and play? 
        In this extract from the story ‘Girls’, written by Mrinal Pande, ‘I’ is the little girl narrating the story. The story has been told in a...
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