Women In and Women Out: An Analysis of Spaces and Relationships in Anita Desai’s Select Short Stories
Keywords:Domestic, Public, Self, Patriarchy, Violence.
The theme of representation of women in the domestic and public arena is the quintessence of Anita Desai’s writings. This paper endeavours to focus on her two short stories, ‘The Domestic Maid’ and ‘The Rooftop Dwellers’, and analyses how the author presents the agonies and sufferings of women in both domestic and public space. Though the stories revolve around the lives of two women, it also shed light on the lives of other women, whose lives become hues of protagonists’ lives. ‘The Domestic Maid’ is the story of village woman Geeta, who takes up a job of a domestic worker in the city to meet both ends of her family’s needs. Her conversation with her co-worker Chaaya, reveals her agonies and sufferings in life. ‘The Rooftop Dwellers’ presents the life of Moyna, who works in a literary journal and her desire for freedom and a space for her own. Moyna does not want herself to be chained in the norms and mores of the society, and the story portrays how difficult it is for a woman to find ‘her own room’ in a patriarchal society. The study sheds lights on the play of power and women’s constant desire for a free space of their own. The stories also delineate the theme of domestic and public violence. The former presents the issue of domestic violence, and the latter offers the idea of public violence against women.
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