Woman Unknown

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Problems with Society and Self
Although the plot of Women Unknown may seem like the theme of a Bollywood movie, the author has implanted several different thematic ideas in this short story. One of the most important themes of this story is the value of materialistic wealth or possessions. At the introduction of this story, the reader is informed that Anupam’s father was a poor man who had “earned a great deal of money as a lawyer, but never had the leisure to enjoy his wealth.” This small, yet significant quote reveals quite a lot about the viewpoints of the author Rabindranath Tagore regarding the issue of materialistic wealth. Even if a person is able to gain the money-oriented status in the world, such earthly goods are not so significant because these earthly goods can be snatched away from the person just as soon as they achieve them (as the famous saying goes, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away). Rather the greatest wealth that a person can possess, according to Tagore, is the ability to overlook the difference between the different peoples of the world that we interact with. To further elaborate on this conception, Rabindranath Tagore presents the character of Anupam’s maternal uncle who “had an ingrained love of money.” The actions of this maternal uncle greatly reveal to the reader how a person that only possesses earthly goods begins to act selfishly and pompously towards others. By giving several examples of the maternal uncle’s rudeness and improper behavior towards Shambhunath Babu, Tagore attempts to persuade his readers to understand that the world should not focus their energies on achieving materialistic valuables. Rather, Tagore wants his readers to admire and desire knowledge and sophistication, because only such possessions are the most valuable possessions that one can acquire.

In addition to the theme discussed above, Rabindranath Tagore also elaborates on the importance of one’s personal beliefs and values. While our world...
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