In the book, Arranged Marriage, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni depicts how various women are treated in India’s arranged marriages today.
The short story, “Clothes,” shows an Indian woman content with her life, living with her husband in America. Mita was lucky with her arranged marriage, as her husband treated her like a queen. Somesh is kind to Mita, buying her American clothes and encouraging her to strive with these new opportunities given to her, like going to college: “But first he wants me to start college. Get a degree, perhaps in teaching. I picture myself in front of a classroom of girls with blond pigtails and blue uniforms, like a scene out of an English movie I saw long ago in Calcutta. They raise their hands respectfully when I ask a question. ‘Do you really think I can?’ I ask. ‘Of course,” he replies. I am gratified he has such confidence in me” (Divakaruni 27). Somesh is an amazing husband, putting his wife’s needs before his own, as Mita explains, “I scold Somesh to hide my embarrassed pleasure. He shouldn’t have been so extravagant. We can’t afford it. He just smiles” (Divakaruni 25). “Clothes” models a perfect arranged marriage, where the happy couple has a balance of power instead of the woman being treated unjust.
“A couple of days later Mother had another mark on her face, even bigger and reddish-blue. It was on the side of her forehead and made her face look lopsided. This time when I asked her about it she didn’t say anything” (Divakaruni 3). The story, “The Bats,” describes an abusive relationship, from an arranged marriage. Every night the woman sleeps alone, crying herself to sleep, trying to hide both the physical and mental pain from her daughter. As the mother and her daughter were sneaking out to visit Grandpa-uncle, and escape the father, the daughter thought to herself, “I wondered when Mother bought them and how she’d paid for them, and then I wondered how she would buy our tickets. She never had had much...
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