Mothers and Daughters: A Study of Selected Fiction by Indian Women Novelists in English

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The subject of womenDs writing represents an intervention within feminist studies in India that explores the psychological, emotional and social concerns of women. Much attention has been paid by feminist scholars in recovering lost traditions of writing by women writers. The idea behind this is to pay emphasis on the womanDs perspective and on the nature of experiences that shape womenDs identity, the processes of self-formation and identification. It is not only difficult but also impossible to give a single voice to womenDs writing in general as the variety of responses and artistic expressions mirror the complex patterns of social and cultural spaces that define the parameters of womenDs lives and womenDs responses to them in everyday situations. This precludes any attempt at generalized assumptions of gender. Women in different parts of the world are affected differently by the demands of cultural and material reality. What remains important, however, is the uniqueness of the experiences captured through the written word in the stories told thereby making visible the interior lives of a set of people that would otherwise have remained closed and unavailable. Writings by women throw light on aspects of womenDs experience and their inner life, on the recesses of the mind that are silenced by codes of cultural conditioning that privileges reticence over expression in women. These writings are significant as they give the reader local specifity and grounding. Not only that but also they show the intricate ways in which womenDs lives are deeply embedded in the cultural matrix of patriarchal structures.The issue of womenDs writing has raised many questions not only on the issue of womenDs self-expression and creativity through the medium of the written word but also on the validity of the enterprise itself as a separate genre of literary studies. Elaine Showalter, who first coined the term DgynocriticismD, traces the history of womenDs writing in the west as having evolved through a series of interrelated phases of development characterized by intense conflict and repression. As early as the 1920Ds Virginia Woolf had insisted on the importance of economic independence and privacy for women writers. The works of Showalter and Woolf are important to our understanding of womenDs writing as a genre. ShowalterDs work apart from analyzing the different stages of the development of womenDs writing also foregrounded the psychological pressure women authors had to undergo writing under the influence of a largely masculine canon. The effects of the Danxiety of authorshipD (Bloom DThe Anxiety of InfluenceD) and what could have been the effects of psychosocial repression for women artists because of societal intolerance of female creativity has been analyzed by Susan Gilbert and Sandra Gubar in their book The Mad Woman in the Attic (2001). Virginia WoolfDs work, on the other hand, was a penetrating analysis of the impediments to womenDs literary creation that discouraged professional women writers. According to Woolf, Victorian women will have to kill the angel in the house in order to find the leisure and economic means to reach creative fulfillment. WoolfDs essay DProfessions for WomenD was one of the earliest attempts at excavating the material conditions and the implications they had for women writers. The articulation of gender concerns is not the same for......
Supervisor: Rohini Mokashi Punakar