comparisonpaper - Julianne Kowalski RE312 Comparison Paper...

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Julianne Kowalski RE312 10/6/10 Comparison Paper Modernity, Tradition, and the Femininity Despite their shared surname, Draupadi and Daropati behave independently in Mahasveta Devi’s and Amrita Pritam’s short stories, respectively. One woman resembles a widow suffocated by her relationship to men because of purdah practice. She is chained by tradition. She is one of Rokeya’s subjugated women. The second expresses herself openly and does not allow herself to be victimized by the opposite sex. She epitomizes Helene Cixous’ ideal woman. Daropati lacks any sort of self-empowerment while Draupadi is the strongest character in her plot. Similarities in their characters also exist, though. The two women share strong motherly instincts and a definite sexual passion, whether the latter is repressed or expressed. Also, both women are victims of betrayal. Although these similarities exist between the women, their differences define their separate characters. Both women experience the same basic instincts. The quintessential female contains both the urge to express her sexuality and (with age) possesses a motherly affection. Her sexuality and her motherliness are her own rather than male constructions imposed upon her. An example of Daropati’s sexuality occurs each year while she herself is a part of the kanjak ritual. This repeated action of winding thread, washing feet, and anointing the virgins acknowledges the fact that they are eligible for marriage. They are old enough to understand sexuality, but young enough to possess the virginity so coveted by society. Well into her sixties, Daropati finds herself on the performing end
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of the ritual rather than the receiving end; however, the act of the kanjak itself stirs her own emotion. She remembers her own “pink dupatta” and “light green glass-bangles dangling on her arms.” These objects become symbols of her valuable position as a kanjak . Daropati receives a marriage proposition at a young age, meaning that her husband’s family sought her out and found her suitable for their tastes. She had the ability to increase the progeny and extend the family line. Even as a sixty-something- year-old kanjak she harbors a unique element of sexuality. Her virginity insinuates that she is teeming and ready to burst at any moment. Rather than dull with age, her participation in the young girls’ ritual renews her purity year after year. While these girls will go off and consummate their marriages, Daropati will maintain this gem because she has no man to take it from her. Nikky Singh comments on the qualities of virgin goddesses who lack husbands (like Daropati on earth): “the understanding is that without a husband or a male counterpart to control their pent-up sexuality, they become fierce, unpredictable, aggressive, and dangerous. .. in order to appease and please the independent goddess, she is worshipped in the form of the Kanjaks” (123). Daropati has been a kanjak for over fifty years and epitomizes the potential of sexuality each year
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comparisonpaper - Julianne Kowalski RE312 Comparison Paper...

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