Representation of Marital Dissonance in R.K.Narayan’s The Dark Room


  • Seema Gupta


The Dark Room is the only novel in the whole oeuvre of Narayan’s writings which deal exclusively with the problems of an Indian housewife who is financially dependent on her husband. In the novel Narayan has exhibited his understanding of the socio-economic dimension of marriage. The major motif in the narrative is the marital dissonance which arises from maladjustment. Narayan takes the subject matter of The Dark Room from the socio-political events of the thirties when All Indian Women Conference was organized to further the women cause in general and their economic Independence in particular. Founded in 1927, the AIWC was at first dedicated to the cause of women education. By the thirties, it emerged as an influential social reform organization which was determined to fight for the cause of women. Kamala Devi Chattopadhyaya, the secretary of AIWC is committed to the improvement of status of women in India. She moved a campaign which was intended to make all people aware of the subjugation under which women are forced to live after marriage. In 1936, a book named Our Cause: A Symposium by Indian Women was published which is an attack on the institution of marriage. The editor of the book Shyam Kumari Nehru writes: “it is a cunning device to keep women economically dependent on men, chained with the four walls of the zenana, confined to the performing of household duties alone. Usually marriage is thrust on her much before she can think for herself, and the tie is indissoluble.” (xii) G.J.Bahadurji, one of the contributors of the book considers marriage as bondage. According to her, marriage not only transforms a woman into either a “dressed-up-doll” or a “beast of burden” but its corollary, motherhood, ensures her lifelong slavery: her creations become the bonds that tie her to the yoke of family life, which, once entered, leaves no room for self-expression, or self-realization” (324). This discourse later became the main agenda of AIWC. Like these women, Savitri is concerned with her economic dependence. The Dark Room is centered on Savitri’s revolt on these issues from the 1930s women’s movement. The present paper tries to explore how Narayan grounds his novel on the female politics of the time, which reveals the reality of women’s lives in the thirties. Narayan himself writes about this novel in My Days:




Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...




How to Cite

Gupta, S. (2016). Representation of Marital Dissonance in R.K.Narayan’s The Dark Room. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, 4(11), 8. Retrieved from