Mrinal Pande's 'Girls'

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Pande's work represents the idea that what it means to be a woman in many parts of India, and the world, has to come under extreme analysis. The fact that the book opens with the statement of how social conditions are organized by gender with women being "a problem." In asserting such a condition to start, the reader understands fairly quickly how this is going to be challenged throughout the story. The idea of the narrator not readily accepting how girls are seen in the specific social order helps to bring out that there is an eventual or demanding of rights. The mere depiction of such a social order is done so to bring attention to the challenges of being a woman in India, and can be broadened to throughout the world. In choosing this as a setting with a protagonist who does not fall into it, Pande has been able to demonstrate how fighting for one's rights and asserting one's own sense of self in such a condition is the only way to approach this reality.

Pande's exploration of women in her story helps to bring light to the fact that in many parts of rural India, women are still viewed as being secondary to men. The fact that the protagonist lacks an exact or direct name helps to illuminate this. What better way to reflect social dehumanization in not having a name for the protagonist of the story? Pande is making the point that women are treated through cultural interpretations of tradition as being secondary to men. She is also making the point that in order for this to stop, women have to appropriate this condition and act in resistance to it. This is easier said than done because it flies in the face of thousands of years' teaching, but Pande seems to be arguing that if women in India wish to see change, they cannot rest on men to deliver it. They must be the agents of the world they seek and in raising awareness to the condition of being a "woman," Pande might be striving to strike a chord with all women. In a culture or nation where...
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