SOCI 150: Introduction to Sociology
The movie “Water” by Deepa Mehta is based on cultural beliefs and religious practices in India in the late 1930’s. Chuyia eight years old girl is forced to enter a house for widows after learning that unknown to her husband has passed away. At the beginning of the movie she thinks that her mother will come to take her back home, but at the end Chuyia adapts pretty well to her new life style as a widow. In the ashram she meets other widows that have been imprisoned there for the rest of their lives. Chuyia meets two widows that are going to be her best friends. Shakuntala the older widow is the most enigmatic, quiet and preserved of the widows. She is very devoted to the Hindu religion and seeks counselling of the priest, where she learns about the law that allows widows to re-marry. The widow Kalyani is a beautiful young woman who meets an upper class young man Narayan, a follower of Gandhi. They fall in love, but soon Kalyani learns that she has been sleeping with his father in order to provide income for the ashram. Because of this reason she cannot marry to the young men, therefore she commits suicide in the holy water. After the young widow’s death, Chuyia is being forced to replace Kalyani to prostitute for Narayan’s father. Because of despair Narayan leaves his father’s house to follow Mahatma Gandhi. When Shakuntala learning of this issue she gives Chuyia to Narayan pleading with him to put her under the care of Gandhi. The film is focused on social restriction imposed on all widow women. Social restriction strained women of education, legal and political rights. Gender discrimination is also predominant throughout the movie. One illustration of this bias is that widow women were not allowed to re-marry, because of being considered to have bad karma. Sexual practices that are portrait in the movie is when a middle aged , married men is having sex with an eight years old child in order to become pure of sins and live longer. We also can apply the three major paradigms that influence sociological theoretical developments. One example of structural functional analysis is the cultural tradition of imprisonment of widows into ashram, a rooming house for widows, because the female is considered a financial burden to the family. We also can apply social conflict paradigm. One example of this theory is political exclusion. In the movie the widows did not know the new law, which was allowing widows the freedom to marry. Symbolic interaction paradigm explains how widows experience their society that they live in. In the movie the widows are forced to beg for money, live in isolation and sometimes prostitute in order to meet their basic need for survival.
Macionis, J.J., Jansson, S.M., Benoit, C.M. (2005). Society: The basics (3rd Canadian ed.). Scarborough, ON: Prentice Hall Canada Inc. Water (2005 film). (2007, February 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved Retrieved 18:04, February 10, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Water_%282005_film%29&oldid=106040679