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Cracking India - the Oppression of Women

  • Date Submitted: 04/18/2012 07:34 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 57.9 
  • Words: 2544
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Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa takes a look at the psychology of India during the time of partition when countless acts of violence were committed against people of all ages, genders and religions. Amidst the cruel acts of violence, Sidhwa continuously comes back to the theme of feminism. There is a gamut of instances that illustrate the sexual objectification of women in Indian society as a norm even before partition, from children to adults. Women are abducted, assaulted and stripped of their freedom because they live in a society that has stripped them of control, making them vulnerable. In the face of an unstable political environment such as India in 1947, women become easy targets for oppression, humiliation, and deprivation. Sidhwa develops many female characters that seem to be built with these in-bred qualities of strength and resilience that is crushed by society until they have no other choice but to act subservient. It is a construct of society that women are treated with such inferiority due to what is perceived as their vulnerability, not biological superiority or divine intervention. This is a society in which women are treated with a socially accepted pattern of victimization and oppression that is seen diversely through the characters of Pappoo, Ayah, Mrs. Sethi and Lenny.
Pappoo is a representation of the realities of Indian life for most girls her age, deprived of nourishment and forced into marriage at an early age. She is introduced as a bold and resilient young girl, despite the physical and verbal abuse she faces at the hands of her mother, Muccho. Lenny herself admires Pappoo’s strength and spirit acknowledging that “it’s not easy to break her body… but there are subtler ways of breaking people” (56). Here, Lenny foreshadows an event that will shatter Pappoo’s spirit. Women in a society such as this are not meant to be strong, and subservience is what seems to be the desired goal in order to maintain normalcy so Pappoo’s admirable spirit...

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