Why Do You Read Books? : An Analysis of the ‘Questioning’ Trope in Mahasweta Devi’s The Why Why Girl
Keywords:Tribal, Questions, Marginalized
In the framework of a children’s story Mahasweta Devi raises some unsettling questions in her short story The Why Why Girl. The present paper is an attempt to read deep into the questions asked by Moyna that seem simple in their appearance but are difficult to deal with. Moyna belongs to the Sabar tribe and her constant whys like, ‘Why must I eat the leftovers? Why can’t we eat rice twice a day? Why do I have to walk so far to fetch water? Why do classes in the village school get over at 11, when the children, goatherds, and cowherds come back from the field after 11 and can, therefore, not attend these classes?’ project the difficult life of tribal people in India where they face problems like lack of resources, illiteracy, bondage, indebtedness and exploitation at the hands of landlords. This paper will look into how Moyna’s questions and curiosity which are a constant irritant to the people around her are of paramount importance within the story, for they create a sense of self-worth in Moyna and also become the catalyst of change for the people of her community.
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