Gender Polemics

Topics: Women in India, Tradition, Gender Pages: 3 (1152 words) Published: August 15, 2010
Women in In Custody are presented as oppressed by the males, thus they are in this sense, a parallel to the colonized because both women and the colonized experience oppression and struggle with breaking free from the control of men and colonizers respectively. They are bound by the identity that their oppressors impose on them, one that is generalised and that entraps them. However, Desai also develops the women in In Custody as characters who assert control over the males in the novel in such a way that they are the ones who emerge as the wielders of power instead of the males. Though women are peripheral in the novel, they are able to subtly demonstrate their authority over men and the immense strength of their character. Women are presented as inferior to men in Anita Desai’s In Custody. In the novel, Desai does not give women much attention and focuses the story mostly on the men in the novel instead. Also, the men flippantly degrade women as objects of pleasure and make use of women for their own desires and satisfaction. Desai presents women as the oppressed and not being able to have the freedom to do as they like as the men in the novel do. Deven constantly looks down on the women in the novel. He puts down Imtiaz Begum’s capabilities, subjugating her to a level of lower authority and describes her voice to be “as plain as her appearance” (87). Furthermore, Sarla’s aspirations as a female and as a bride were overlooked because it is something “so abstract” (67) that women are not expected to dream of them at all. Women are seen to be made use of in the way the men in the novel call for them when they are in need of entertainment or companionship. Deven realised that if he “had someone”, then-. Thus women are presented as peripheral in this sense and are unable to go against the men because they are bound to the men in the novel by traditions. At the onset, women are presented in In Custody as inferior to men. Yet as the novel progresses, Desai develops...
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