Dr.S.S.Nirmala, their stereotypes. She tries to vivify

Dr.S.S.Nirmala, Assistant
Professor of English, Kundhavai Naachiyaar Government Arts College For Women
(A), Thanjavur.

Abstract: Fiction by women writers constitute a major segment of
the contemporary writing in English. It provides insights, a wealth of
understanding, a reservoir of meanings and a basis of discussion. Through women
writers’ eyes we can see a different world, with their assistance we can seek
to realize the potential of human achievement. The Portraiture of woman in the
entire world has been all-too-myriad in their complexion, as they have been
all-too-rich in their composition and all-too variegated in their character. Women
were faced with the essential question “who am I” and resolving it was made
difficult by traditional constructions of gender role. The research article
attempts to focus on the contemporary woman’s struggle to define her and attain
an autonomous selfhood especially in cross-cultural crisis with special
reference to Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s novels. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an
Indian American writer who emerged as outstanding novelist in the genre of
South Asian Diasporic literature. The author has delineated the lives of Indian
women immigrants who defy their stereotypes. She tries to vivify the image of
women who have tried to assimilate the alien culture and have tried to accept
the changed identity, overthrowing the Indian cultural heritage in which they
took their first breath. Her women characters represent vivid identities of
life like marginalized, rebellious, docile, traditional and modern, all types in
her novels.

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Keywords: Female Identity, Self-revelation,
Cross cultural crisis, Alienation, and Assimilation.

The last few decades have witnessed
a remarkable change in the perspective of women in Indian English fiction. In any appraisal of the Indian English Literature,
an appreciation of the writing of its women is essential. The women fiction
writers got the desired recognition and status with the arrival of writers like
Rohinton Mistry, Amitav Ghosh, Nayantara Sahyal, Anita Desai, Bharati Mukherjee,
Shashi Tharoor, Meena Alexander, Manju Kapur, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and
Jhumpa Lahiri. These writers are working on the cultural set-backs that
determine the women’s life. Dispersion,
going away from the native location and departure of cultural context are the
main thematic concerns of these writers. Their concerns are global concerns as
today’s world is afflicted with the problems of immigrants, refugees and all
other exiles. Their works are replete with the diasporic consciousness, which
strongly witness social realities, longings and feelings in addition to the
creativity of the writers. They experience diasporic problems which portray
different aspects of sensibilities and concerns, although these vary as per
their generations, perceptions, attitudes and specific identities. Many writers
write in their mother tongue, producing literature primarily for the reading
public in Middle East or diaspora community while others switch over themselves
to write in the language of host country. In both the cases, the distance from
the homeland often encourages these writers to tread new grounds, experimenting
and exploring with new themes and forms, breaking taboos prevailing in their
countries and developing new ideas. Their
works analysed much on woman’s alternative identities as wife, mother,
daughter, beloved etc.

The expatriate writers or their
writings have been able to transform the stereotypical sufferings of a woman to
an aggressive or independent person trying to seek an identity of her own
through her various relationships within the family and society. As a natural
consequence their writings, reflect what we consider an expatriate sensibility
generated due to cultural disparity and emotional disintegration. In this
process it is the woman who suffers the most because of her multiple
dislocations. She gets involved in an act of sustained self-removal from her
native culture, balanced by a conscious resistance to total inclusion in the
new host society. She carries the burden of cultural values of her native land
with her to her new country, thus making it more difficult and problematic for
her to adjust. She is caught between cultures and this feeling of
in-betweenness or being juxtaposed poses before her the problem of trying to
maintain a balance between her dual affiliations. Nevertheless, along with the
trauma of displacement she is fired by the will to bound herself to a new
community, to a new narrative of identity. The diasporic women writings
represent the women who are forms of cultural hybridization that reflect the
experience and social positioning of the authors themselves. These women in
diasporic literature show an inexorable awakening of identity in relation to
western values of individuality and independence. The women go on to asserting
and exploring their own identity, even when it reverts back to traditional

Banerjee Divakaruni, an original and exotic Indian writer, is fundamentally a
feminist and most of her works deal with the sufferings of women like yearning
for a perfect love, their security, nightmares, disappointments, stoicism, Struggle
for recognition, female infanticide, Agonies of abortion and fear of social
stigma. Though Indian English Literature can boast of many brilliant feminists,
Chitra Banerjee can be considered unique among them as she weaves mythology,
exoticism, suspense and intrigue in her stories and novels with a fascinating
narrative, making them appealing enough for her readers. Most of these are
enchanting yet these never fail to create an impact on the readers and nag them
with some fundamental questions that the society will have be asked repeatedly
regarding the sufferings of women. She sees herself as a “a listener, a
facilitator, a connector to people” and “to me, the art of dissolving
boundaries is what living is all about”. (Dissolving 2) One of her earliest
memories of her childhood is that of her grandfather telling her stories from
the ancient Indian scriptures, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. She notices
that unlike the male heroes, the main relationships the women had were with
men; they never had any important women friends. This realization was to
greatly influence Divakaruni’s writings, which focus on women’s relationships. Whether
set in India or America, Divakaruni’s plots feature Indian born women torn
between old and new values. Whether in California, Chicago or Calcutta, her
women learn to adapt to new and changing culture and, as a result, discover
their own sense of self.