Women Persona in Meatless Days
Meatless Days presents the picture of third world women, as a silenced community, a community that is so marginalized that its existence has become almost meaningless ; ‘There are no women in Pakistan.’
In this autobiographical sort of writing Sara introduces some female characters, whom she knew so well both internally and externally. She shows us not only their social side but also the working of their mind and the unsaid pangs of their soul that help us to position them in such an order as ; Feminine
An important aspect of this discussion is that her characters are not bound in these categories forever, they develop and evolve, and sometimes move from one category of women to the other. This is a very natural phenomena, as society always demands a women to fit herself in the roles that are prescribed for her at the different stages of her life. Juggling between these different roles ,she forgets her true identity as a women. Sara’s grandmother is a conservative woman,a feminine charcter, who bore all the burden of life as a woman and her deformed backbone is a metaphor of distorted womanhood; By the time I knew her, Dai with her flair of drama had allowed life to sit so heavily on her back that her spine wilted and froze into a perfect curve. Then there is Mamma, who once asserted herself as a feminist and left her own country and people to marry a man after her own heart and her own will, but later she resigned into a feminine role by accepting the stereotype role of a house wife who is of course not as privileged as her husband is ,in a typical Pakistani society..What a transition ! Similarly Sara’s friend MUstakori ,who enjoys various names and various continental identities and gives the air of being a very bold and liberal feminist ,is at heart a feminine who is ready to acknowledge and mimic the very mode of identity formation , society expects from her. Throughout the narrative she plays this game of identity and performance and ultimately she is broken in her search for totality and with her sense of incomplete subjectivity. At a symbolic level ,Mustakhori represents the plight of all the third world women. There are as many Mustakhoris in our society, as we can think of, lost in their own search of identity, and dying with their incomplete subjectivity as they are only predicated to a male subject. Then there is Ifat,her bold step to leave her father’s home and to marry Javed shows her feminist side ,but later the same Ifat plays the game of identity and performance in order to find a place in the Javed’s culture and home.she also makes a shift fron feminist to feminine role . The only character who keeps her stance as a feminist throughout the narrative is Sara herself. She questions the poor fate of women and challenges the male dominance with the courage which in not known , so far, to many women in our society. Bravo. A detailed study of female characters in Meatless Days
Like many other post-colonial regimes, in Pakistan religion was misused and misinterpreted to subjugate women and to justify their unequal rights . Thus the political, religious, social and economic privilege, that men enjoyed not only enlarged the scope of their dominance ,but also minimized and marginalized the scope of women only to the four walls of their house and to the domestic stereo type roles, denying them any progressive part to be played in any matter of social or national significance . Suleri laments this situation and tries to compensate it in her work, by giving more richness and space to the female characters, and by marginalizing male characters in a demeaning way, her literary vengeance. Four out of the nine chapters are dedicated to the female characters. The rest of five chapters are also full of the tales from the lives of the women close to her. She describes Pakistani society as;...
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