Shashi Deshpande’s Fiction
Dr. Vishwanath Bite
Department of English,
MBSK Kanya Mahavidyalaya, Kadegaon,
Dist. Sangli, (M.S.) 415304.
Avishkar Publishers and Distributors
Shashi Deshpande’s Fiction: A Study consists of essays by distinguished academicics and scholars on variety of topics. The book introduces the contemporary debates comprising the vast aspects of Shashi Deshpande’s Fiction. Though Shashi Deshpande always lebelled as feminist writer scholars have brilliantly argued to prove the merit of her fictional world. Her works explored with focus on postcolonial theory, modern criticism, feminish, human relations, quest for identity and variety of othere themes. Shashi Deshpande is the critically acclaimed writer of nine novels, a number of short stories, children’s books and essays. Her novel, That Long Silence, won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1990. Trained as a journalist, Deshpande’s work focuses on the reality and truth of the lives of Indian women. Deshpande has described her literary style as “really a very simple and stark style, which rarely draws attention to itself.” She received the Padma Sri award in 2009. Shashi Deshpande is of the view that in calling her novels feminist, one straitjackets the works; imprisons them with the label. She feels that while she is feminist, her novels are novels. She hasn’t written the novels as a debating voice, to develop a thesis in a debate. She feels her novels are open examinations of the experiences of people in specific setting. Shashi’s writings are complex but seamlessly woven narratives which explore the lives of people, especially women. Unconsciously her writing is informed by feminism, which she finds a source of strength, though unfortunately this sometimes results in her work being slotted into this one category. The present anthology edited by Dr. Vishwanath Bite consists twenty-two well researched articles throwing flood of light on variety of aspects.
The present volume will prove an ideal reference book to students, researchers and teachers of Indian Writing in English in general and Shashi Deshpande in particular.
Dr. Vishwanath Bite, (b. 19th April 1983) is working as Assistant Professor in English in MBSK Kanya Mahavidyalaya, Kadegaon, Dist. Sangli. (M.S.). He is Editor-In-Chief and publisher of The Criterion: An International Journal in English, ISSN (0976-8165). He is on the editorial board of Lapis Lazuli and Thematics Journal of Indian English Literature. He has delievered lectures in many seminars and conferences and presented papers. He has published more than dozen qualitative research articles in national, international journals and books. He has completed his Ph.D in 2009 from Shivaji University, Kolhapur. His published books are Indian Writing in English: Critical Perspectives and Booker Prize Winner Indian English Novels: A Kaleidoscopic Study and Some of his forthcoming books are Basavraj Naikar: Critical Perspectives, Indian English Historical Drama, Critical Response to Mahesh Dattani, Indian English Drama: Thematic Reflections, Indian English Poetry: An Appraisal and Indian English Fiction: Postmodern Considerations.
Dedicated to my father Shri K. S. Bite
Friend, Philosopher and Guide in true sense
Who tought me to SURVIVE, LIVE and RISE………
- Dr. Vishwanath Bite
C O N T E N T S
1. Man-Woman Relationship in Shashi Deshpande’s Short Stories
2. Who Is Deceived In Shashi Deshpande’s In The Country Of Deceit
3. From Despair to Hope: Shashi Deshpande’s A Matter of Time
Mukesh Yadav & Shalini Yadav
4. The Dark Holds No Terrors: A Postcolonial Reading
5. Intersection of Class and Community in Shashi Deshpande’s Novel: The Binding Vine
6. Love, Sex, Opportunity and Remorse: In The Country of Deceit
Dalvir Singh Gahlawat
7. Changing Image of Woman in the Novels The Dark Holds No Terror and That Long Silence of Shashi Deshpande
Dalvir Singh Gahlawat
8. Female Characters In Shashi Deshpande: A Psycho Analysis
9. Domestic Relations in Shashi Deshpande’s Short Stories
10. Owning One’s Life: A Woman’s Existential Angst in Shashi Deshpande’s That Long Silence
11. Impact of Urbanization and Personal Mobility In the Novel of Shashi Deshpande’s The Dark Holds No Terrors.
12. Indu in Dilemma: A Critical Analysis Shashi Deshpande’s Roots and Shadows
13. Interpretations on Masculinities in That Long Silence and The Dark Holds No Terrors
14. Jaya’s Quest For Self In Shashi Deshpande’s That Long Silence
15. Repression, Repercussion and Resistance – A Psychoanalytical Study of Shashi Deshpande’s Moving On
S. Ambika & M.Vaijo Latha
16. A Study of Shashi Deshpande’s Women Characters: Feminism in Search of Identity
17. Women in the Literary Corpus of Shashi Deshpande
L. V. Padmarani Rao
18. A Matter of Time: The Quest for Female Identity
19. Shashi Deshpande’s Roots and Shadows: Articulation of Feminine Voice
P. Madhurima Reddy
20. Unhappy Women: Caught in Identity Crises in the Novels of Shashi Deshpande
21. Tradition Vs Transition: A Psychological Study of Shashi Deshpande’s The Binding Vine
S. Ambika & M.Vaijo Latha
22. Woman Empowerment in The Dark Holds No Terror
Assistant Professor in English, MBSK Kanya Mahavidyalaya, Kadegaon, Dist. Sangli, (M.S.) India. 415304.
Assistant Professor in English, Vasanta College for Women,Rajghat, (Banaras Hindu University), Varanasi-221001,U.P.,India.
Associate Professor in English, Jaipur National University, Jaipur.
Associate Professor in English, Jaipur National University, Jaipur.
No:45/16, Gurukkal Street, Back To Easwaran Temple, Kadaperi, Madhurantakam, Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu.
Assit.Professor, Dept.Of English, Birla College Of Arts,Science & commerce
Kalyan, Dist:-Thane- 421301
Dalvir Singh Gahlawat
Research Scholar, Department of English, Singhania University, Jhunjhunu,
75,Sarswati Nagar, Dhar M.P.454-001
Research Scholar, Department of English, Shivaji University, Kolhapur.
AG-501, Ground Floor, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi-110088.
Assistant Prof. Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, IIT, Roorkee.
Research Scholar, Dept. of Studies in English, Kannur University, Kerala.
R.V.Govt Arts College, Chegalpattu, Kancheepuram District, Tamilnadu.
Asst. professor of English, S.T.Hindu College, Nagercoil – 629002, Kanyakumari District, Tamilnadu
Asst.Professor of English, Arignar Anna College, Aralvoimozhi – 629301,
Kanyakumari Dist. Tamilnadu.
Ph.D scholar at Women’s Studies Research Centre, University of Calcutta.
L. V. Padmarani Rao
Assistant Professor, P.G. Department of English, Yeshwant Mahavidyalaya Nanded.
Asstt. Professor(English), Deptt. Of Research & Post Graduate Studies,
P. Madhurima Reddy
Prof In English, CBIT, Hyderabad – 75.
Associate Professor, Department of English, S.S.K. Girls’ Degree College,
Associate Professor in English, Shah N. H. Commerce College, Valsad. (Gujarat)
Shashi Deshpande is one of the novelists whom you can read with seriousness. She is never after gimmicks. There is an earnest voice, very serious about the story being told and its manner. She is one of the writers with little posturing. Her novels usually have women as the protagonists. This has led readers to call her a feminist writer. She has often complained against this title. Shashi Deshpande is of the view that in calling her novels feminist, one straitjackets the works; imprisons them with the label. She feels that while she is feminist, her novels are novels. She hasn’t written the novels as a debating voice, to develop a thesis in a debate. She feels her novels are open examinations of the experiences of people in specific setting. Shashi’s writings are complex but seamlessly woven narratives which explore the lives of people, especially women. Unconsciously her writing is informed by feminism, which she finds a source of strength, though unfortunately this sometimes results in her work being slotted into this one category.
Shashi Deshpande is the critically acclaimed writer of nine novels, a number of short stories, children’s books and essays. Her novel, That Long Silence, won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1990. Trained as a journalist, Deshpande’s work focuses on the reality and truth of the lives of Indian women. Deshpande has described her literary style as “really a very simple and stark style, which rarely draws attention to itself.” She received the Padma Sri award in 2009. Her latest book is the novel, In the Country of Deceit (2008).
Vishwanath Bite in his scholarly article explored Man-Woman relationship in the Short stories of Shashi Deshpande. Shashi Deshpande, though her main concern is the struggle of woman in the context of contemporary Indian society to search for their identity not only as woman but also as human being, giver the central place to this theme in her short stories. The relationships between husband-wife, daughter-father and woman’s relationship with another man in extra marital affair are seen in her short stories. Arti Nirmal in her research article, Who Is Deceived In Shashi Deshpande’s In The Country Of Deceit says that the novelist has been successful in giving a convincing justification to the title In the Country of Deceit but just like the title of the novel the ending too raises several questions pertaining to the issue of disputed land, the role of the actress Rani in the novel, the relevance of series of letters written by different characters to Devayani, and the need of introducing few such characters that seem flat and redundant. In their article, From Despair to Hope: Shashi Deshpande’s A Matter of Time, Mukesh Yadav & Shalini Yadav state that Shashi Deshpande does not give her female protagonists a readymade solution for their problems but develops a faith in hope so that they can change their circumstances from despair to hope through a route of self-searching and self-examination, through valor and resilience. Ramana Devika studies The Dark Holds No Terrors in a postcolonial point of view and she explains that the novel is a metaphorical critique of a postcolonial grammar of thought and it makes an implicit statement about the anachronistic position of Third World women in an influentially male reading of postcolonial theories. Grishma Khobragade in her well researched article discusses intersection of class and community in The Binding Vine. According to her, Shashi Deshpande takes up for study the issues and problems of contemporary middle class women and these women are aware of the social and cultural problems of the male-dominated society. Dalvir Singh Gahlawat in his article focuses themes of love, sex, opportunity and remourse and says that Shashi Deshpande with her extraordinary literary and inventive theoretical power presents human aspects comprehensively in a new light which is beyond supposition to express so well. Through the novel, In the Country of Deceit she depicts a theme of myriad feelings of love. In his another article about, Changing Image of Woman in the Novels The Dark Holds No Terror and That Long Silence he discusses that for the predicament of women, their inner conflict, quest for identity, issues pertaining to parent-child relationship, marriage and sex, and their exploitation and lack of expectation, Shashi Deshpande has been labeled ‘feminist’. But after analyzing her work it might be said that she is not completely in the favour of overthrowing the patriarchy and establishing the matriarchal system. She has made her utmost efforts to balance the relationship between man and woman.
Neerja Mishra in her insightful article examines the female characters in Shashi Deshpande’s novels from psychoanalytical point of view. Further she says that in her novels she has given the outer and the inner self of her all male and female characters in a psychological way. Madhuri Bite in her insightful article talks about domestic relations in Shashi Deshpande’s short stories. Deshpande has highlighted the changing relationships amongst the members of the family. Especially the changing relationship of mother and daughter is seen in her short stories. Shashi Deshapnde deals with the middleclass Maharashtrian woman and her problems. Minakshi Kaushik in her well-researched article Owning One’s Life: A Woman’s Existential Angst in Shashi Deshpande’s That Long Silence, states that Shashi Deshpande, along with other Indian English novelists like Anita Desai and Arun Joshi, writes from an existential point of view. Through such a perspective, the novelist, through fiction, tries to grapple with the existential project that humans undertake – construction of ‘meaning’ to make sense out of life. In her another article, Impact of Urbanization and Personal Mobility in the Novel of Shashi Deshpande’s The Dark Holds No Terrors Grishma Khobragade says that her novels deal with the Indian middle class women’s turmoils, predicament, and frustration and their pregnant silence. Her paper is an attempt to read closely Deshpande’s point of view regarding impact of urbanization on class and community as they are stated and implied in her works. Smita Jha critically analyses Shashi Deshpande’s Roots and Shadows and also highlights Indu’s character who is caught up in a conflict between her family and the professional roles, between individual aspiration and social demands. C.G.Shyamala in her article, Interpretations on Masculinities in That Long Silence and The Dark Holds No Terrors, while defining the concept of masculinity says that traditional masculinity is associated with assertiveness, virility, aggression, competitiveness, ambition, courage, physical strength and vitality, while femininity bears traits as submission, meekness, tolerance, endurance, softness and delicacy.
S.Somasundari Latha in her research article, Jaya’s Quest for Self in Shashi Deshpande’s That Long Silence while focusing Jaya’s character says that in her attempt to rediscover her ‘true self’, Jaya finds herself as an unfulfilled wife, a disappointed mother and a failed writer. In their contributory article, S. Ambika & M.Vaijo Latha discusses repression, repercussion and resistance in Shashi Deshpande’s Moving On from psychoanalytical point of view. They further examines that Shashi Deshpande’s novels are concerned with a woman’s quest for self; an exploration into the female psyche and an understanding of the mysteries of life and the protagonist’s place in it. Trayee Sinha in her insightful article, A Study of Shashi Deshpande’s Women Characters: Feminism in Search of Identity, explores that Deshpande’s fiction focuses on the women characters trapped up in a conflict between tradition and modernity. She has clearly pointed out the gap between the prejudice stricken traditional women who prefers her daughter’s marriage to career and the modern, educated, empowered women who prioritizes her personal opinion and empowerment.
L. V. Padmarani Rao in her well-research article, Women in the Literary Corpus of Shashi Deshpande, comprises that the heroines of Shashi Deshpande strive for and obtain certain autonomy and there by realize their immense potentialities for action and self-actualization. Their return home is not defeatism but the triumph of the independence of women. She further says that they learn to live in the modern society with self-identity and self-realization. Ashish Gupta’s article deals with the quest for female identity in Shashi Deshpande’s A Matter of Time. According to him, Shashi Deshpande tries to project the fact that tales about women, which so far had been narrated from man’s point of view, should be retold from women’s point of view. His paper tries to bring out this idea of woman explicating herself and emerging out of the cocoon of self-pity to spread her wings of self-confidence. P. Madhurima Reddy in her article about Shashi Deshpande’s Roots and Shadows: Articulation of Feminine Voice discusses the struggle of the protagonist, Indu, an educated middle-class woman, in a male-dominated tradition bound society. According to her, the novel tells the story not of an individual but of the institution of marriage, which is threatened by the forces of change and faces dissolution. Neerja Sachdev in her well-researched article, Unhappy Women: Caught in Identity Crises in the Novels of Shashi Deshpande , portrays the picture of tradition- bound woman. According to her, for centuries, Indian traditions, social norms, culture and customs have been leading men to feel that they are superior and different and forcing women to think that they are inferior human beings who are not expected to play any role other than the traditional ones of each being a wife to her husband, a mother to her children and a caretaker of the house. In their another article, Tradition Vs Transition: A Psychological Study of Shashi Deshpande’s The Binding Vine, S. Ambika & M.Vaijo Latha examine the position of woman in Indian society. They further explore that in a patriarchal society, woman is supposed to be an ideal wife, a mother and above all an excellent home maker with multifarious roles in the family. A creation of patriarchy that serves the male flair for domination is not based on mutuality but on oppression. In literature, a woman is ‘marginalised’ or ‘silenced’ and as a result she has to suppress her real self and lose her identity in a male dominated society. D. G.Thakor’s paper presents woman empowerment in Shashi Deshpande’s well known novel The Dark Holds No Terror. While explaining the concept of empowerment he says that, empowerment is envisaged as an aid to help women achieve equality with men, or at least reduce the, gender based discriminations considerably.
The concept of feminist literary criticism has been broad and varied from 19th century women authors such as George Eliot and Margaret Fuller to cutting-edge theoretical work in women's and gender studies. Feminist criticism, started as part of the international women's liberation movement, studies and advocates the rights of women. Betty Friedan's 'The Feminine Mystique', Kate Millet's 'Sexual Politics' and Virginia Woolf's 'A Room of One's Own' contributed to the emergence of the new women's movement. These writers had started a new consciousness-raising movement. In this era Shashi Deshpande has emerged as one of the more sensitive and versatile Indian woman writers with her novels 'The Dark Holds No Terror', 'That Long Silence', 'The Binding Vine' and ‘ROOTS AND SHADOWS'. This book attempts an analysis of the female characters in Deshpande's fiction that tries to reconcile the basic tenets of feminism with contemporary Indian reality. In addition, the book briefly examines the depiction of Deshpande's male characters, for contrast. It also focuses upon her perception and attitude towards the human condition in general and her contribution as a writer.
The Present anthology has strictly followed blind peer-review procedure while selecting the papers. I am thankful to Dr. R. S. Zirange, Associate Professor and Head, Department of English, Yashwantrao Mohite College, Pune. (M.S.), Dr. D. R. More, Principal, Shri Shahaji Chh. Mahavidyalaya, Kolhapur. (M.S), Prof. Dr. J. A. Shinde, Former Head, Department of English, Shivaji University, Kolhapur. (M.S.) and Dr. P. A. Attar, Professor and Head, Department of English, Shivaji University, Kolhapur. (M.S.) for reviewing, selecting papers, making suggestions and sharing with me critical arguments.
I must record my deep sense of indebtedness to Mr. Akshay Jain and the whole team of Avishkar Publishers and Distributors, Jaipur for pursuing me to bring out present volume. I must not forget to express my deep sense of gratitude to my respected father, Shri. K. S. Bite, My beloved wife, Madhuri Bite for her help in editing and her constant support in my literary activities. I must thank My Brother Ramdas Bite for his love, affection and constant support.
- Dr. Vishwanath Bite