Love and Sex in the Poetry of Kamala Das : A Quest for Identity
Creative writing in a language not one’s own is possible and Kamala Das remains even today after five long decades ‘ the most powerful voice of the post colonial reality”. She has acquired and nativized the English language by exploring the nuances of English and impassioned celebration of genuine emotions. Confessional poetry of Kamala Das are often “ anti-structural and anti –establishment’ (Kamala Das and Her Poetry ,23) . They are still more interesting from the viewpoint of identity of a woman. Love and sex in her poetry become a paradigm for fractured realities encountered by the poetess. Essentially she speaks for a woman who is in search of love. She challenges the very idea of phallocentric tradition and asserts in poem after poem that the subaltern can speak. Post colonialism consists primarily in the contestation of power structures and social hierarchies. For Kamala Das a woman’s predicament as a daughter , a wife, or a lover reflects a victimization in relationships. Kamala Das revolts against a constructed notion of relationship. Women are not the self-sacrficial model of virtue or promiscuity. The hitherto premises of male hegemony are violently shaken by Kamala Das who can defy the conventional ideological discourse of sexism and love. She herself became a victim of a young man’s carnal hunger . In ‘The Freaks’, a remarkable lyric which was published in Summer in Calcutta contains a picture of love that is full of dirt and filth as the man ensconced in sexual intercourse turned his ‘sun-stained / Cheek to me , his mouth , a dark /Cavern, where stalacities of /Uneven teeth gleam , his right / Hand on my knee, while our minds/ Are willed to race towards love ; / But they only wander, tripping / Idly over puddles of desire” . The focus on the ‘puddles of desire’ refers to her unfulfilled sexual desire as her heart remains ‘ an empty cistern’. Kamala Das describes in ‘The Freaks’a man and a woman persona are described as capriciously and whimsically behaving in unexpected manner. The poem celebrates the mood of transitory triumph over the defeat of love : My glass , like a bride’s
Nervous smile , and meet
My lips. Dear , forgive
This moment’s lull in
Wanting you, the blur
Elsewhere in the poem Kamala Das describes the ambience :
The April sun , squeezed
Like an orange in
My glass? I sip the
Fire , I drink,and drink
Again, I am drunk.
We get a poignant verbal drama in the expression. The graphic details of drinking and the April heat. The poem focuses on the inborn passivity of the male partner and yet it ends with the assertion : “I am freak”.This is the identity crisis of an Indian woman who fails to flaunt ‘ a grand flamboyant lust’ in spite of the dissatisfaction. Here the poetess highlight the notion of vehemence and impetuosity with which the poet appropriates and internalizes the vocabulary for mapping out the terrain for the post colonial women in social terms. She secures the first significant step toward the explosion of the myth of male supremacy propagated by patriarchy. This is in itself automatically presupposes the awareness of a shared fate of injustice. In The subjection of Women John Stuart Mill argues that the principle of servitude in marriage is a monstrous antithesis to all the principles of the modern world. For Mill the most liberating aspect is that human beings are no longer born to their place in life. Kamala Das has shown and is very loud in violently showing that to be born as a woman is to lose the capacity to transcend that place in life already determined by...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document