The Subtle Art Of Feminism Essay

1653 words - 7 pages

Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel, Water, realistically presents the circumstances of women and, in particular, widows in 1938 Colonial India. It exposes the gender inequality and double standards that govern that society for no other reason than that is what tradition dictates. Sidhwa presents complexities in her characters, which make them very human and very real, and the widows’ reactions to each other and to the world outside of the ashram create a feminist message. Water poses the problem of gender inequality in India by presenting a realistic and typical situation, and it allows the readers to draw their own conclusions while experiencing the intricacies of the Indian culture.
The most obvious example of inequality or mistreatment of women is Chuyia’s situation of becoming a bride and soon after a widow at age eight. By becoming a widow she is forced into the ashram and into isolation from the rest of society. This is a situation that is common in India due to the fact that tradition dictates “a woman is recognized as a person only when she is one with her husband” (Sidhwa 14). It shows that society views women as worthless unless they are under the control and service of a man. Furthermore, this tradition means that women are married off as soon as possible as to secure their future and purpose in life, while men are able to wait longer to marry. In Indian culture, men are worth more than women, and the novel shows this fact by contrasting Chuyia’s marriage situation with Narayan’s situation. Chuyia has no say in who she must marry because she is female, and her marriage is entirely dependent on her father, who marries off six-year-old Chuyia to a forty year old man. Even though Chuyia’s mother tries to stop the marriage at such a young age, her father refuses to hear her argument and says, “A woman’s role in life is to get married and have sons. That is why she is created: to have sons! That is all!” (Sidhwa 15). Not only does this say a lot about the child brides, but it also presents the dominant role of the men in society as Chuyia’s father gets to make the final decision and the mother has absolutely no say in her daughter’s life.
In comparison, Narayan is permitted to choose his own spouse, and he is encouraged to wait longer until marriage. After Narayan tells his mother that he has found his bride by himself, his mother quickly accepts the idea of him choosing a woman: “Bhagwati’s expression softened, as she gazed upon her son. If he loved the girl so much, she would love her too” (Sidhwa 167). Sidhwa includes this scene between Narayan and his mother to depict the double standard that remains between males and females. Also the novel shows the leniency towards a man’s time to get married: “My father says, ‘Childhood is a time for play, not for marriage’” (Sidhwa 148). By juxtaposing these two very different situations, Sidhwa allows the readers to draw their own conclusions about the inequality between the sexes.

Find Another Essay On The Subtle Art of Feminism

The History of Feminism Essay

942 words - 4 pages The History of Feminism The definition of feminism is very elusive. Maybe because of its ever-changing historical meaning, it’s not for certain whether there is any coherence to the term feminism or if there is a definition that will live up to the movement’s variety of adherents and ideas. In the book “No Turning Back,” author Estelle Freedman gives an accurate four-part definition of the very active movement: “Feminism is a belief that women

The Infestation of Feminism Essay

1121 words - 4 pages Feminism affects our government, our society, and our lives in negative ways. It is based on very little and it has been promoted very effectively by women whose self-interest appears to be their chief interest: regardless of the costs to everyone else. Betty Friedan gave part of the credit of the start of feminism to Sigmund Freud, who believed that women were a strange, inferior, and less than human species. Since the uprising of feminism, two

The Harmful Effect of Feminism

1473 words - 6 pages The Harmful Effect of Feminism Feminism is defined as the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. It began as an organized activity on behalf of women?s rights and interests. This concept was developed to help women earn a place in a predominantly male society. Unfortunately over the years, the intentions of feminism have become distorted, not only by anti-feminists, but also by the feminists themselves

The Continued Necessity of Feminism

1830 words - 8 pages should be fighting to put an end to it. Feminism remains not only relevant to our society, but necessary. A common topic in modern feminism is the gap between men’s earnings and women’s earnings. A study from the IWPR in 2012 revealed that women working full-time earned 80.9% of what men earned in weekly pay –a drop from 82.2% in 2011 (Khimm, Suzy). Why does this wage gap persist even 50 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed? It is not due to

Barbie: The Queen of Feminism

1564 words - 6 pages , Barbie continues to be the most popular doll in the world, with two sold every minute (“The Creation of Barbie”). When Barbie first premiered, feminism in America was on the back burner (Hannam), and was little talked of. It’s said that with the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, in 1920, waves of feminism died down, as it was commonly thought that women had been given complete equal rights, and they should be appeased (Hannam). Little did

Ecofeminism: The Feminism of Ecology

3126 words - 13 pages Christian theology, feminism, and ecology. Her model focuses on the metaphorical idea that the body of the earth is the body of God (McFague, 1993). To better understand this model, we must first examine how bodies have been viewed and affected within the Christian religion framework of our western culture. Christianity has a long tradition of focusing on embodiment. Its basic practices and ideas of incarnation, Christology, the Resurrection, and

The Eloquent Rhetoric of Feminism

1253 words - 6 pages value of each individual person, based not only on legal rights but on the basis of each person functioning in solitude from one another. As she continues her address, she educates her audience on the meaning of individuality and how it relates to the fundamental rights of American citizenship. A woman has her own rights, her own happiness, and her own life; feminism embodied this concept. The feminist movement proposed that women be treated more

Hearing Hushed Emotions: A Subtle Symphony of Diction in “Peter Quince at the Clavier”

2047 words - 8 pages Hearing Hushed Emotions: A Subtle Symphony of Diction in “Peter Quince at the Clavier” “Music is feeling, then, not sound,” writes Wallace Stevens in his poem “Peter Quince at the Clavier,” beginning to establish music as the connection between physical and spiritual. Music-related terminology fills the poem, which Stevens composes like a piece of music, with four movements and varying rhythms that echo one another. The rhythms and

The Art of Art Theft

664 words - 3 pages Infamy is defined as the state of being well known or famous for a serious criminal act. It is commonly used to describe deeds that, while considered wrong, are often glorified by media, folklore, and the news. The words used to describe a work of art and the way the art is stolen is almost identical. Which brings up the question: can an art heist be considered a work of art in itself? In Edward Dolnick’s book, The Rescue Artist, barely anyone

Exploration Of The Failure Of Feminism

3422 words - 14 pages Exploration Of The Failure Of Femininism When looking through Newsweek, the article "The Failures of Feminism" grabbed my attention, and I reacted to it strongly. My immediate response was one of defensive disgust, but the more I realized that I might actually understand and argue with the author on some points. This essay is an exploration of my own beliefs and reflection of my growth as both a writer and a person. There are many women

Legacy and Respect: The Usefulness of Feminism

2038 words - 8 pages Legacy and Respect: The Usefulness of Feminism In a letter to students who participate in Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges' bi-college Feminist and Gender Studies department, Head of the Department Anne Dalke outlined an argument in favor of changing the program's name. She wrote, "Our argument for re-naming the F&GS program "Gender and Sexuality" is based on 3 claims: 1. that it will be enticing for prospective and current students

Similar Essays

Feminism And The Art Of The Seventies

379 words - 2 pages Morris and Schneemann's work entitled 'Site', recreates Manet's Olympia andforces the viewer to literally think outside the box or the traditional function of art as an object. This performance takes painting and interprets it into a new art form that encompasses theater, sculpture, and dance. I believe that this work serves to produce an awareness of the male gaze, where Schneemann's works "Eye Body" and "Meat Joy" challenges the male gaze by

Use Of Subtle Details In Kate Chopin's The Storm

1191 words - 5 pages Use of Subtle Details in The Storm   Effectively describing the relationships between characters is one vital component to a great piece of literature.  Without a fundamental understanding of what the characters are feeling and a sense of where they are coming from, a literary work is a puzzle with missing pieces.  A variety of tools exist for authors to accomplish this goal.  Such information can be provided outright

A Subtle Metamorphosis In The Grapes Of Wrath

835 words - 3 pages A Subtle Metamorphosis in The Grapes of Wrath   The spirit of unity emerges as the one unfailing source of strength in John Steinbeck¹s classic The Grapes of Wrath. As the Joad family¹s world steadily crumbles, hope in each other preserves the members¹ sense of pride, of courage, and of determination. A solitary man holds a grim future; with others to love and be loved by, no matter how destitute one is materially

The Subtle Truth Of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

2254 words - 9 pages The Subtle Truth of Jane Eyre       The role of a woman in Victorian England was an unenviable one. Social demands and personal desires were often at cross-purposes. This predicament was nothing new in the 19th century, yet it was this period that would see the waters begin to stir in anticipation of the cascading changes about to shake the very foundation of an empire on the brink of global colonization and industrialization. The question