Presentation on theme: "South-Indian American Women Writers (& Filmmakers) Issues of Cultural Identity and Gender."— Presentation transcript:
South-Indian American Women Writers (& Filmmakers) Issues of Cultural Identity and Gender
Outline zThe native mother’ perspectives: “The Mother”The Mother zAn Immigrant-mother+victim’s perspective: “Management of Grief”Management of Grief z Immigrants and their Cultural IdentitiesImmigrants and their Cultural Identities zRelated Issues and Texts: yExperience of Hostility and their Survival yCultural pluralism “What is Worth Knowing?” yMother-daughter relationship Desperately Seeking Helen
“Her Mother” : Gender issues zWhat is the most important question the mother asks of her daughter? How does she find out the answer? (the daughter’s change 134; the question: 133; process of discovery: ) zWhat makes the mother similar to our mothers? zWhich parts of the mother make her “traditional” mother? What aspects of her are “feminist” and unconventional? zHow is the mother related to the daughter and her husband?
“Her Mother” : Contradictory Gender identities z“traditional” mother— 1.Motherly advice: Eat, Bathe, Oil your hair, stay with Indians, go meet the good buy.(pp. 131; 134) 2.Views about marriage & Concern with the two daughters’ (135; ) 3.Her own dream and collections (132) z “feminist” – 1.Rebellious thoughts pp.132; teach the daughter independence 3.Views of her husband (135), Indian men and American culture (138)
“Her Mother” : Contradictory Gender identities (2) zHow is the mother related to the daughter and her husband? zThe daughter’s being closer to the father, p133; different feminist views p. 135 zThe husband’s double standard; his sense of betrayal p. 138
“Her Mother” : Cultural Issues zHow does the mother and the father look at the U.S. and India differently? What are the mother’s stereotypical views of “Westerners”? z--Stereotypical views—not clean, divorce, and racism (134; 135 )
“Her Mother” : Gender + Culture Issues zThe daughter’s hair-cutting and leaving: z How does the mother get to understand the daughter? yGrief + memory ySignificant clues: midnight encounter, Rapunzel, handkerchief; pinched look z Sisterhood and Mother-daughter bonding: can they be strong enough support in a society dominated by men?
Bharati Mukherjee zBorn in Calcutta, India, in 1940, she grew up in a wealthy traditional family. zWent to America in 1961 to attend the Iowa’s Writers Workshop zMarried Canadian author Clark Blaise in 1963, immigrated to Canada zFound life as a "dark-skinned, non-European immigrant to Canada" very hard and moved to the U.S. Sees immigration as a process of reincarnation, breaking away (killing) from the roots.
“The Management of Grief”: Background zJune 22nd., 1985 Air India flight 182, leaving from Montreal for India, exploded and crashed into the Atlantic ocean off the Coast of Ireland. z329 people died. zSuspects: Two Sikh nationalists. But investigation still goes on. zConsequence: p. 162
Why is Canadian government criticized? z1. Indifference – seen as “foreign” affair; z2. Incompetence: Canadian government already informed: In early 1985, Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi was getting ready to visit North America. India asked Canada and the United States to keep close tabs on Sikh militants who might pose a security threat. Many Sikhs around the world were furious over the Indian Government's 1984 assault on the Golden Temple at Amritsar, Sikhism's holiest shrine. yOne person, Talwinder Singh Parmar, was put under strict surveillance. But around the time of the explosion, he managed to go untapped and unnoticed.(source)source
How is Canadian government criticized in the story? zWho else are criticized in the story?
“The Management of Grief” First question: What’re the meanings of the title?
“The Management of Grief”: Different Ways of Management z-- The narrator (Mrs. Shaila Bhave), p. 160, 164, 169, with apparent calmness, lives in memory, final release 174; z-- Pam, escapes, feeling neglected, wanting to go to California, and ends up serving Orientals. p. 161, 169, 174 z-- Kusum, accept fate, 163, 164, 173 z-- Dr. Ranganathan, another kind of escape, while keeping the connection p. 169, 170, 174, final break 174 z-- the elderly couple leave it to their god; insist on their own way and believe themselves "strong."
“The Management of Grief”: Different Ways of Management z The Canadian government -- evasive 159, indifferent 160. Irish , 165, 166 giving flowers and showing sympathy Her parents: not blaming on the whole group of people because of some individuals 167 (Sheila’s own limitation: p. 171) zJudith Templeton--considers them ignorant, a mess.
“The Management of Grief”: Different Ways of Management Two kinds of bureaucracies: 1.Custom officers; --his image Judith– signing papers pp. 162; 170; 172
“The Management of Grief”: Different Ways of Management Theory: 1.Rejection, 2. depression, (Depressed Acceptance) 3. Acceptance, 4. reconstruction (p. 170) What is not considered? Need to keep hope, 167; Need time to go through the process of guilt/regret, prefers ignorance, or their own versions p. 163 mourning process: searching, waiting. Different cultures’ views of grief and mourning.
Immigrants and their Cultural Identities zImmigration and its Push and Pull factors zFive kinds of diaspora: yVictim (e.g. Jews, Africans, Armenians), yLabour (e.g.Indian, Chinese), yTrade (e.g.Chinese and Lebanese), yImperial (e.g.the British, etc.), yCultural/Economic diasporas (the Caribbean).
Routes of Recent Migrations from Indian Subcontinent Rushdie, Imtiaz Dharker (back to India) Air India H. Bannerji; B. Mukherjee, India-- U.S. –Canada -- U.S. Sujata Bhatt India – U.S. -- Germany A. Appachana C. Divakaruni B. Mukherjee, Sujata Bhatt
Immigrants and Cultural Identity zPossible Choices But do they have a choice? yAssimilation the myth of melting pot; self-hatred (Pam in M, second-generation) ySeparation/isolation Discrimination, Exclusion (.g. the elderly couple in M) yHyphenation (In-Between positions) Multiculturalism = Isolation or Ghettoization (Sheila p. 168)
Cultural Identity: Multiple Influences Family and other social units “Her Mother” “Paki, go home.” “Management”
Cultural Identity and Gender Identity: Issues Related to South Asian American Women (1) zCultural Identity in between country of origin and the host nation y – potted plant, empty baggage, umbilical cord buried in the host nation y -- how/whether to look back y -- hyphenated or not (e.g. B. Mukherjee– refused to be hyphenated) zExperience of Racism: Visible Minorities e.g. Sari, food, religion,
Cultural Identity and Gender Identity: Issues Related to SAAW (2) zCultural Identity influenced by Sexism of both places (“Her Mother”) zExperience of Racism and Sexism Combined in both places. e.g. “Her Mother” “Management” zRacism: y can happen because of lack of understanding, y subtle ones in the questions, harsher ones in racist slurs yIndividual institutionalized zIntensify or weaker mother-daughter bonding and sisterhood
Cultural Identity and Gender Identity: Issues Related to South Asian American Women (3) zTwo mothers experience different kinds of loss; zCarry on what they cherish and are given.
Cultural Identity and Gender Identity: Issues Related to South Asian American Women (4) Experience of Racism & need for resistance -- “Paki Go Home” In-between positions and cultural pluralism: “We the Indian Women in America” & “What is Worth Knowing?” Mother-daughter relationships -- “To Sylvia Plath”
Desperately Seeking Helen by Eisha Marjara zHelen,..., is a sign of rebellion. Only she is also a role model, a vamp (the opposite to heroine) who turns out to be a combination of mother figure and Eisha Marjara’s need for resistance. zAnother example— from the daughter’s perspective
Desperately Seeking Helen by Eisha Marjara z"Helen was a larger than life figure, the icon of Indian cinema which is the world's largest dream factory. More than a movie star, she was a glittering figure of desire and playfulness, the mistress of a thousand disguises, yet always herself,'' avers the film-maker who has written, directed and enacted the lead role in the film. (source)source