South-Indian American Women Writers Issues of Cultural Identity and Gender.
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Presentation on theme: "South-Indian American Women Writers Issues of Cultural Identity and Gender."— Presentation transcript:
South-Indian American Women Writers Issues of Cultural Identity and Gender
Migrants and their Cultural Identities zImmigration and its Push and Pull factors zFive kinds of diaspora: yVictim(e.g. Jews, Africans, Armenians), yLabour (Indian, Chinese), yTrade (Chinese and Lebanese), yImperial (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 B. Mukherjee, Sujata Bhatt, A. Appachana C. Divakaruni
Immigrants and Cultural Identity zPossible Choices But do they have a choice? yAssimilation the myth of melting pot; self-hatred (Pam, second-generation) ySeparation/isolation Discrimination, Exclusion (.g. the elderly couple in M) yHyphenation (In-Between positions) Multiculturalism = Ghettoization (Sheila)
Cultural Identity: Multiple Influences Family and other social units
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, need for resistance “We the Indian Women in America” “Paki Go Home” “To Sylvia Plath”
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
“Her Mother” : Gender issues 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.Views about marriage & Concern with the two daughters’ 2.Motherly advice: Eat, Bathe, Oil your hair, stay with Indians, go meet the good buy. 3.Her own dream and collections z “feminist” – 1.teach the daughter independence 2.Views of her husband, Indian men and American culture
“Her Mother” : Contradictory Gender identities (2) z-How 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? zWhat are the mother’s stereotypical views of “Westerners”?
“Her Mother” : Gender + Culture Issues z What pre-occupies the mother? How does the mother feel about the daughter’s hair-cutting and leaving? zWhy does the daughter see going abroad as an escape? Escape from what? 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 Vancouver 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
“The Management of Grief” First question: What’re the meanings of the title?
“The Management of Grief”: Different Ways of Management z Characters: z-- The narrator (Mrs. Shaila Bhave), p. 160, 164, 169, 170 z-- Pam, escapes, feeling neglected, ends up serving Orientals. p. 161, 174 z-- Kusum, accept fate, 163, 164, 173 z-- Dr. Ranganathan, another kind of escape, while keeping the connection p. 169, 170, 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 163-164, 165, 166 giving flowers and showing sympathy not blaming on the whole group of people because of some individuals 167 zJudith Templeton--considers them ignorant, a mess.
“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? guilt/regret, hope, prefers ignorance, or their own versions p. 163 mourning process: searching, waiting. Different cultures’ views of grief and mourning.
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) zAnother example—from the daughter’s perspective Desperately Seeking Helen zHelen, like the stove, or biting in the food, 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.