CHAPTER – I
The word literature comes from the Latin word „litteratura? which means writing formed with
letters. It refers to the works with imagination and creative writing skills. It connects individual
with real truths and ideas in the society. The history of Literature started long before, man
learned to write. Art is the reflection of truth and beauty. Literature preserves the ideas, love,
faith, duty, friendship and freedom of human beings life. Literature is the written record of man?s
spirit, emotions and inspiration; it is the history and only history of human soul. Literature
provides a way for writer to express their thoughts and experience.
It is in written form and these words are alive forever. Literature teaches the reader about the
values of life with their stories. Literature mirrors the society and its behaviorism. It helped the
civilization to overcome from the darker side of life. It is a storehouse of knowledge and
wisdom. Literature allows the individual to gain new ideas and helps them to present themselves
in the society. Literature is a form of art; it brings different emotions and sense of „spiritual?
things, it helps to know the different cultures and traditions. Literature records the expression of
the inner self of human beings and message to the universe. It is not an imitation of life but a
copy of the real world.
“The history of literature is the history of the human mind.” (William Hicking)
“Literature: The art of putting old words into new places.” (Edward Blanchard)
“The very essence of literature is the war between emotions and intellect, between life and death.
When literature becomes too intellectual-when it to ignore the passions, the emotions- it become
sterile, silly and actually without substance.” (Isaac Bashevis singer).
Literature is an instrument of self-discovery. Literature is nothing but the experience of a writer
which expresses, represent and communicates their feelings through writings. Literature is a
group of works made up of words, it also describe sometimes spoken material. Literature is a
development of writings that enhance to give entertainment, enlighten and instruction to the
reader, listener, observer as well as development of the literary techniques used to communicate.
Literature is important in everyday life as it connects individual with huge truths. It gives way
for people to share or record their ideas, experience and knowledge through written and oral
form. “Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary
competences that daily requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our
lives have already become.” (C.S. Lewis)
“Literature overtakes history, for literature gives you more than one life. It expands experience
and opens new opportunities to readers.” (Carlos Fuentes)
Indian English Literature explains the body of works written by Indian writers in the English
language and whose native language could be one of the languages of India. The earliest works
of Indian Literature were orally transmitted. Indian writing has been turned out to be a new form
of Indian culture. English has been adopted in India as a second language of education and
literary expression besides being an important medium of communication. The beginning of
Indian literature in English is traced to the end of 18th c and the beginning of the 19th c by the
time English education was more or less established in three major centers- Calcutta, Madras and
The first book written by an Indian in English was Travel of Dean Mahomet, a travel narrative by
Sake Dean Mahomet published in England in 1793. In early 1900s, Rabindranath Tagore began
translating his works from Bengali to English. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913 for
his book Gitanjali. Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949) was great poetess. Her Golden Threshold (1905)
and The Broken Wings (1917) are the works of great literary merit. Mulk Raj Anand, R. K.
Narayanan and Raja Rao were the earliest Indian novelist writing in English, who began to write
in the early thirties. Mulk Raj Anand (1905) is known for his short story, The Last Child.
His novels Coolie (1993), Untouchable (1935) reveal his concern for the downtrodden and under
privileged in India. R. K. Narayan is another well-known figure in Indian English writings. His
first novel is Swami and Friends (1935) and the next one is the Guide (1959). The last sign of
Indian English literature is Raja Rao whose novel Kanthapura was published in 1958. Latest
writers like kamala Das, Manohar Malgonkar , Anita Desai and Nayanthara Sehgal captured the
spirit of an independent India, struggle to break away from the British. They support traditional
Indian culture and establish a distinct identity.
In the 1980?s and 90?s India emerged as a major literary nation. Salman Rushdie?s Midnight
Children won the Booker Prize. The worldwide success of Vikram Seth?s The Golden Gate
made him first writer of the Indian diaspora. Bhabani Bhattacharya, Arun Joshi, Khushwant
Singh, Amitav Ghosh are the predominant Indian writers. The latest Indian writer who took the
world with a trouble was Arundhathi Roy.
Her novel The God of Small Things won the Booker Prize in 1997. Rohinton Mistry, Kiran Desai
and Jhumpa Lahiri are the some distinguished writers of Indian origin. The mid-20th c saw the
emergence of poets such as Nissim Ezekiel, Kamala Das and R. Parthasarthy who heavily
influenced by literary movements. Many Indian writers have chosen English as medium of
expression and left away a great impact on different forms of literature. They have been used
English to reproduce the Indian culture and spirit. Raja Rao said in the preface of his novel
“One has to convey in a language that is not one?s own, the spirit that is one?s own”. Indian
writing in English shared tradition, cultural experiences and Indian heritage. The new generation
of Indian writers in English has handled the wide range of themes and the subject matters.
The novel is defined as a long narrative in prose detailing the action of unreal people. Meredith
calls it “summing of actual life”. Fielding calls it an epic in prose. It is a form of art, and gives a
fuller and more varied representation of real life. The novel combines narration, description,
history, philosophy, poetry, fantasy, social critics and popular view of life. The novel has various
elements. The plot in a novel is the organization of incidents. There are two types of plot- the
organic and the episodic.
The novel is an extended prose fiction dealing with the interaction of characters in real or
imagined settings. The word novel originates from the Latin word Novella which means new.
The term Novella was introduced by the Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio to the short anecdotal
prose narrative Decameron. A novel may have simple or a compound plot. Unity in structure and
plot is to be observed. Characterization it is art of presenting alive and real to our imagination.
The novelist allows the characters to reveal themselves through speech and actions. There are
two types of characterization the direct and the indirect. Next one is dialogue reveals passion and
emotions of the characters and advances the movement of the plot. It should be natural,
appropriate and dramatic. It gives vividness and actuality to the plot and the characters. Time and
place it refers to whole settings of the story and material. There are various novels based on sea
life, military life etc. the novelist should master its details and then present a lively picture of it.
The theme of a story is the moral. The theme can be extracted from actions, characters and
settings. The main aim of theme is to reveal the truth behind the story.
Point of view it means that someone is narrating the story from his or her own point of view.
There are three types of objectives points of view, third person point of view and first person
point of view. Then the last element is climax it is the turning point in the story that comes when
characters try to solve the problems at the end of the story. It shows the way how the story gets
end happy or sad. The novel is concerned with life and it should reveal itself through
interpretations, character and temper of the work as whole.
There are various types of novels like sociological, historical, regional, non- fictional, picaresque
and trilogy. A sociological novel deals with socio and economic conditions which are depend on
characters and events. The historical novels are based on the settings and events happened in the
past. This type of novel are fairly elaborated from the history events and giving importance to the
narration part. The regional novel is based on the setting, speech and customs of a particular
The word Anglo-Indian has a racial connotation and they are happy to merge their names with
Indians and Pakistan. The Indian literature comprises with various languages like Bengali, Hindi,
Guajarati, Kanada, Tamil, Telgue, Urdu etc. Indo-Anglian literature is not only different from
Indian literature but it gives artistic expression to the relationships between man and society.
The appearance of the novel in India as a literary form in 19th c. England synchronized with the
raise of individualism and with all consequent political and social reorientations which followed.
The rise of the novel in India between 1818 and 1850 began with the emergence of prose.
Feminism as a literary movement took shape in the Indian literature niggardly or elsewhere
feminism as a movement was mobilized by both male and female writers in India.
The novelist such as Arundhati Roy, Anita Desai, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Shashi
Deshpande, Mulk Raj Anand, Bharathi Mukherjee they have dealt with the issues which concern
about women with grist insight and clarity. Feminism is a serious subject to analyze, comprehend
and why feminity or the feminine sensibility different from masculinity or the masculine
experience. Indian poses the gift of storytelling from the time of Riga- Veda and Upanishad.
Kailash Chander Dutt?s A Journey of 48 Hours of the Year appeared in the Calcutta which an
imaginary but successful revolt against the Britishers was projected. It is assumed that Indian
novel in English has its roots in nineteenth century, realistic tradition of English novel. Bankim
Chandra Chatterjee (1838-94) was the founder of the modern school of Indian fiction. He was
the first Indian to write a novel I in English. He began with Raj Mohan?s Wife. Bankim
Chandra?s work in Bengaliar Vishbrikasha (1873), Krishna Kantar Uil (1878), Kapal Kundala
(1866) were translated into English. Ravindranath Tagore?s Chokarballi, which was written in
Bengali, later translated into English. R.C. Dutt and Tagore influenced the early Indian English
novelist. The period between 1930 and 1965 was a flowering period of the novel, through three
pillars of Indian novelist in English Mulkraj Anand, R. K. Narayanan and Raja Rao.
It was the period of Indian fiction in English discovered the most important themes such as
struggle for freedom, east -west encounter, untouchables, plight of women and landless poor etc.
Indian fiction has expressed the joyous and sorrow of Indian people realism was brought out by
Anand?s writing. His major characters are real and close to reality. Mulk Raj Anand introduced
Humanism in Indian English fiction by the method of storytelling. His novels Untouchable
(1935), coolie (1936), Village (1939) have dealt with the problems of poverty, untouchability,
caste and class discrimination. R.K. Narayanan is known as eminent novelist of Indian writer
born in middle class family, who exposed the comic view of life. His first novel Swami and
Friend (1935), Narayan has used casual settings and created small imaginary world of Malgudi.
Raja Rao brought out fiction with philosophical bearings. His first novel Kanthapura appeared in
1983. He has written and published number of short stories. The well-known novelist in Indian
English fiction after this trio are Arun joshi, Kushwant singh, Bharathi Mukerjee, Chetan Bhagat,
Arundathi Roy and many others. They have preferred to express the real situation of Indian
poverty, agriculture, religion and caste system. Before independence Indian writers were forced
to write about their nationalistic zeal. The major ideas of their writings depend upon wrestle for
freedom and inhumanity of Britishers. However when India got its independent, the writers were
free from limitation and they started to highlight the issues. Female ideas are seen in the famous
women writers Rama Mehta, Nayanthara Sahegal and Shoba De are the best examplres. Women
writers in Indian English bounce with Indian culture and its traditional values. From the ancient
times India is male dominant and cultural oriented country. Indian women are covered with
ignorance, doll like object, patient and gentle. But in western culture and education women are
reborn again with the power of fighting against the society.
Issues like political events, partition of India and its difficult consequences. The new trend is
came out after independence when the subject of changes raised like lower classes,
meaninglessness of existence, identity crisis etc. The novel before independence was purely
based on social, political and historical concerns; whereas the novel in post independent seems to
be interested in contemporary issues. The psychological novel describes the human personality
and inner conflicts. The number of novelist are Anita Desai, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni have
explore the psychological and sociological problems in the individual life. The 19th century
intellectuals started to question orthodox prejudices ethics and superstitions that present in India.
The impact of western learning gave a new form to Indian society which underwent a metaphor
uses. The rebirth of Indian classical learning, the introduction of European arts and science gave
rise to an unpredictable awakening in India.
In India middle class intellectuals began to emerge with the feudal society, giving rise to intense
nationalism during the Indian struggled to articulate their feelings and passionate thoughts
through their writings. Salman Rushdie fascinated the Indian intellectual with remarkable
understanding of Indian history through languages this further paved the way to the Indian with
tradition, realities and myth and heritage in the most eloquent way. Amitav Gosh is known as
post-colonial Indian writer who turn the realities to visualize a new Indian with an air of
Victorian aristocracy. Sir Aurobindo the novelist was salute as a receipt and his novels were
translated into many languages. Indian English novels were developed as subaltern awareness as
a response to break away from the colonial literature.
The post-colonial writers started to apply the techniques of mixed languages. From the post-
colonial era Indian English literature developed into the contemporary and the postmodern era.In
the initial days the stories and concepts were stepped in myths. History of English literature is
the recent origin. It has been growing slowly and steadily in the 20th century. In the last three
decade of 20th century there was awakening of creative writers in India; rightly encouraged by
national and international awards. Early Indian writers used simple words to convey their
experiences. Unlike 1930?s and 1950?s they have marked the significant growth of Indian novel
in English during third period, some promising Indian novelist has emerged on a literary scene.
The novels of this period delineated private tension self-alienation and loneliness.
Anita Desai describes the disturbed life of middle class people. Sashi Desh Pandey described the
persona domestic life of women. Arun Joshi focused on different faces of displacement in his
novels like the Foreigner (1968), The Strange Case of Billi Biswas (1971). Hatter is considered
as a first Indian English novel, a Stream of Consciousness technique is used. It contained the
sheets of magical realism and portrait the hybridity between human the experiences. To most
important and remarkable events which happened at the dawn of 21st century are Jhumpa Lahiri
was awarded by Pulitzar Prize for her work Interpreter of Melodies in 2000 and V. S. Naipaul
was honored with Noble Prize in 2001. Indian novelists has used the language which not their
own but they have used the English language to spread message. The English language has
provided them an opportunity to reach all over the world and to make sure that they do not
remain in their own region, people and country.
The progress of nation is measured on the basis of women?s status. The condition of women of
any nation is a mirror to its civilization. If a woman of nation enjoys all rights without any
domination then it is symbol which shows the development of nation has reached the level of
maturity and a sense of responsibility. India is bounded with patriarchal society where woman
doesn?t have their own individuality but they are related to man. Women never get their freedom
but they are able subordinate to man.
The condition of woman has been inferior as compare to male society. The truth is ignored that
she has contributed for the betterment of family, society and country. Women are always
compared to the slaves but in modern times women are achieved a lot in every sector compared
to men infarct they are better than men.
Women are not away from writing section and they have contributed a lot to Indian English
writings. Indian women novelist too shines luminous along with their male parallel. Women are
very good in story narration. The stories told by mother and grandmother were transformed into
prose, poetry, drama and novel. The last few decades shown tremendous development in Indian
women writing in English. Indian women writer have their own group and they prefer to write
about the child marriage, protest against polygamy system and widowhood in the earliest day.
A woman has been the focus of many literary works down the centuries. Indian writing in
English has also started to acknowledge the status of women in male dominant society. The
concept of Indian womanhood has changed and undergone drastic and dramatic view from era to
era. Indian English fiction divided into two broad categories – the pre- and post- independence
group of writers.
Before independence the Indian novel in English was in hand of male dominant society. The
women novelist in first generation is showed as traditional and claim women. Toru Dutt (1856 to
1877) has dealt with different problems of women like Sita Savitri and Draupathy. Raj Lakshmi
Debi has described the condition of women in her two novels the Hindu Wife and The Enchanted
Fruit (1876). P.D. Ram Bhai Saraswati (1858 to 1922). She has written a book Caste Indian
(Hindu women). She described her views about the marriage system and commented on how
women remain satisfied in their relationship with husband and how they were happy to be in the
bondage. Rabindranath Tagore?s the elder sister Swarna Kumara Goshal (1856 to 1932) was a
poet, novelist, playwright, story writer and a journalist. The Fatal Garland (1910), The
Unfinished Song (1913) and Indian Love Story (1910) are the major works of her. Most of the
works of her proved to be torch bearer in the tradition of women writing in Bengal and highlight
the quality of women?s writing. In early novels women are showed as typical traditional Indian
women. These women hold their concern with the feminine qualities of faithfulness, sincerity
and love. Mostly all the women writers wrote about the contemporary social situation.
They have written what they have suffered and their real aim was to explode the real status of
women in Indian society. Krupabai Sathinanadan wrote during 1862 to1894, she was one of the
few Indian women writers to write in English language. She began to write when she came to
know that she had few days to live. A story of Hindu Wife was first published in the Madras
Christian College magazine in 1894. The next prominent figure is Swarna Kumara Debi, the
elder sister of Tagore who was married at the age of 13. She writes poetry and fiction. Her first
novel was published on 1876. She has written 25 books in Bengali, which contains plays, short
stories and novels.
China Mukul (1879) and Fular-Mala were translated into in English in1910. She was awarded
the by Gold Medal by university of Calcutta. Sorabji was well known first women blister from
India. Her famous works Love and Life Behind the Parda (1902). This work is about the quarrels
of women in the domestic quarters. During the period 1915 to 1950 remarkable women writers
appeared on Indian English literature. Some of the significant writers in the post-independence
are Anita Desai, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Shashi Desh Pandey, Shoba De,Arundathi Roy and
others. Kamala Markandya showed women in a traditional outlook. Santha Ramarao has
believed in the superiority of Indian culture. Nayanthara Sahgal highlighted the problems of
women in marriages. Raji Narasiman presented liberated women characters in her works. In her
works women characters are educated and lead a life with full of freedom.
Sarojini Naidu is considered to be one of the first women writers in India. Anita Desai to
Arundhati Roy extends the frontiers of feminine creativity. Anita Desai is a great novelist and
different from others. she has presented psychological exploitation of women characters. Her
protagonists are mainly suffers from loneliness and sensitive. Shashi Desh Pandey focused on the
problems and issues of contemporary middle class women. Her protagonists are intelligent,
carrier oriented. Bharathi Mukerjee and Indian American emigrant writer she wrote about her
experiences in India as well as in America. Her protagonists are victims of racism, sexism and
other forms of social evil. Geeta Hariharan novels like The Thousand Faces of Night (1992) won
the prestigious common wealth award. She also published collections of short stories. Her works
are mostly shows the battle between women in their relationship with man and society. Uma
Vasudev and Nayanthara Sahegal they dealt with middle class married women?s identity crisis in
the contemporary male dominated society.
Nayanthar Sahegal is one of the few Indian brighter who immediately caught the attention of the
world. She belongs to prominent political families of India. Hence, most of her character belongs
to the wealthy and upper class Indian society. The day in shadow 1971 is the outstanding novel
by Sehgal. Sehgal has expressed deep nationalistic feeling in her works. Anita Desai is a notable
literary figure in Indian women writing in English. According to Anita writing is a process of
exploration of language. She has published her first novel Cry the Peacock in 1963. Followed by
this she has published various novels like Fasting Feasting (1999), Journey to Ithaca (1995),the
Zig-Zag Way(2004). Fire on a Mountain is about three women and their complex experiences in
life. Desai examined the nature of pilgrimage to India. Fasting Feasting shows the opposite of
American and Indian culture as well as behavior of male and female. She is a remarkable for
sensitive portrayal of inner life of female character.
Her fictions moves the around the themes like women operation, quotes for identity, family
relationships, the breakdown of traditions and social biases. Bharathi Mukerjee focused on
migration, status of new immigrants, feeling of alienation. She herself experienced has an
immigrant and struggled for identity in America which leads her to write about issues of
immigrants. Mukerjee?s own experiences racism in Canada where she ill-treated by a professor.
The tenant reflexes her views on Indian immigrant women studying in America and her
experiences. The middle man and stories 1988 is a collection of short stories which expose the
east and west immigrant experiences in America. Shashi Desh Pandey?s novels are women
oriented she represented real India, women deprived of love, understanding are the center of
works. She explained how the traditional Indian biased against women. A liberated woman is a
novel which describes about caste system and its restrictions.
Her fifth novel, That Long Silence 1998 reveals the hollowness of modern Indian life. The God
of Small Things (1992) is the best novel written by Arundathi Roy. This novel won the Booker
prize. The novel mainly captures the themes of life such as caste system, color discrimination,
gender domination. Jumpa Lahiri is an American author and her novels are based on Indian
immigrants to America who are taunt between two worlds, two cultural values. She has preferred
to write about the struggles, immigrants and portrayal of women. Majority of Indian women
writers describe the trauma and troubles of life of Indian women. The women portraits by them
are real flush and blood. The Indian women do not talk about cultural past, tradition and custom
whereas male writers have written about the problems of individual, social and political.
Whereas women writers preferred to write about women oppression, issues of power and
injustice done to them. Indian women novelist focused on the issues of women and attempts to
project the realistic picture of life. They have projected the dilemma which modern Indian
women faces in their everyday life. The concepts of immigration are particularly emerged in
second half of 20th century. There are various reasons for migration.
The effects of immigration are harsh upon the immigrants then the society. Immigration is the
important literature feminism is an approach economy, social, political and cultural rights for
women in the society. It believes that women should be treated equally and they should enjoy
their rights without any discrimination. Focused on men and women should be treated equal in
terms like job, education, right to vote, freedom and identity. Feminism pointed out various
obstacles faced by women in the society like domestic violence, inequality in gender and aimed
to abolish the patriarchy system from its root. Through literature feminism core ideas are
expressed and throw lights on the suffering of women.
“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate the
The term “feminism” originated from the French word “feminisme” coined by the utopian
socialist Charles Fourier, and it was used in English in the 1890s for women?s freedom. It has
many varieties, feminist geography, feminist history and feminist literary criticism. They
changed the aspects of western society. Feminism involves in many issues like social freedom,
economic independent, work place rights, education, gender stereo type, discrimination and
sexism etc. feminists divided the feminism in to three waves they are first wave feminism,
second way feminism and third wave feminism. They started in mid-19th century, which begun
from male European colonist.
Who spoke against the social evils of Sathi, to allow widow remarriage, to forbid child
marriage, to reduce illiteracy, property rights through the legal path. In the late 19th century, a
nationalist movement started in India.
First wave feminism started in 19th too early 20th century which focused on equal rights for
women based on property, opposition to unwanted marriage for women. At the end of 19th
century the first wave feminism more active on gaining political power, women?s sexual
reproductive and economic rights. In 1918 the representation of the people act was passed, to
gain to right to vote all over the world. Finally women get the power of right to vote by the
constitution at the end of 1999. Feminist like Voltaraine De Cleyere and Margaret Sanger were
actively started camping for women?s rights and freedom.
The second wave feminism was started in early 1960s and lasting through the late 1980s. It was
continuation of first wave feminism. This movement encouraged the women to understand the
importance of their individuality and fight against gender-biased structure. It points out the issues
of inequality and wanted to put full stop towards the gender discrimination in society. Education
should be given to women equally.
The third wave feminism was started in the mid-1990s. It was response to the failure of the
second wave feminism. It focused on upper class white women and lower class women
sufferings in the society. It also focused on micro politics and it challenges the second wave
feminism. It differentiates wave is good for women and what is not.
Feminist theory is the extension of feminism it aims to understand the gender inequality and its
role in the society; it empowered a women importance through their rights and power. Themes
explored in the feminism like discrimination, oppression and patriarch. It also point out the
women?s role and their life experience. Feminist theory analyzed the condition of women and
their sufferings through writings. Feminist expressed their anger and pain as they faced in the
society. Feminism has many forms like liberal, radical, black, social, Marxist, ecofeminism,
post-modern and post- structural and post-colonial feminism. Key terms in feminism are
patriarchy, objectification, discrimination, lack of education, violence against women.
Freedom means a lot for Indian women for centuries of male-domination society. Indian woman
have faced lots of problem like domination, lack of identity, and loneliness. Patriarchy based
society has forced the Indian women to be suppressed in every corner of life. Chitra Banerjee„s
novels are totally based on women?s issues and their obstacles. She has beautifully portrayed the
modern women, educated and career- oriented middle class married women who are sensitive to
the changing times and situation. Indian English novels are a major source for a systematic study
of culture and their effects on women?s life.
Feminism in English literature explores the history of women?s sufferings and pain. Literary
context provides lots of information about the domination of women. Many writers first men
started to write and then slowly feminist emerged to write their own life story to express their
feelings. Writings provide a great peace for feminist writers to express their anger towards the
society. Many writers emerged as the development of feminism in all over the world. Feminism
occupied a wide place in literature. Feminism started in India 1850-1915 as first phase feminism.
It aims to abolish sati practice. The second phase started in (1915-1947) they wanted to involve
women in the independent movement. Gandhi encouraged women to participate. The third phase
stared in 1947, post-independence focused on fair treatment of women after marriage. Indian
feminist emerged in India writing in English. They fight for individuality, political rights, social
freedom, end to domestic violence?s, discrimination. Many feminist, Medha Patkar, Madhu
Kishwar and Brindha Karat, struggle for women rights. Indian feminist writers totally against the
patriarchal system practiced in the society.
Kamini Roy was the first woman feminist she is a Bengali writer known for her work Nirmala.
Ishmat Chugaitan an Urdu writer in India is known for her work Lihaaf. Kamala das, known as
famous Indian female writer. Her poems and fiction reveal the sorrows of women. Chitra
Banerjee Divakaruni a feminist writer is known for her work palace of illusions. Lalitambika
Anthrajanam a Malayalam writer wrote Angnisakshi.
We all fight over what the label „feminism? means but for me about empowerment. It?s not about
being more powerful than men- it?s about having equal rights with protection, support, justice.
It?s about very basic things. It?s not a badge like a fashion item. (Annie Lennox). Many writers
all over the world expressed their views on feminism theory. Mary Wollstonecraft has written
her work vindication of the rights of women in 1742. She fights against the traditional roles of
women and society fail to educate them. The Feminie Mystique published in 1963 by Betty
Friedan points out women is meant for childbearing and homemade. Katha Pollitt the author of
reasonable creatures shows women are separate sex and they should enjoy their individuality.
Simon de Beauvoir, a great French writer who published the second sex in 1949, analyses the
oppression of women and social construction. Virginia Woolf in her work A Room of One’s own
It is a modern movement expressing protest against the dominance of men and the
marginalization of women. It demands the promotion of women?s rights and their interest to ask
question on sexual harassment, financial and political sectors of life. Male writers started the
movement and later on women joined with it. Many great writers have reflected the immigrant
experience through their literary. Writers have contributed to the feminist movement through
their writings Margaret at wood contributed to the movement and have been internationally
acclaimed novelist. The prominent Indian feminist are occupied a prestigious position in Indian
English fiction. Female writers protested against the cruelty faced by women in male dominant
The revolt against between the mechanical life, mismatched marriages and problems in the
society. The protagonist of their novels is troubled and suppressed women of typical Indian
society. Many postmodern Indian writers have dealt with the theme of immigrant feminine
experience from its different perspectives. A group of female writers of Indian origin involves
themselves in to issues like and they tried to explore the troubled lives of immigrant women in
different parts of the world. In 1970s the writers were expressed the cruel injustice done to the
women in male dominant society. In 21st century women?s writers came out and fight for
inequality. The migrated people have given worth to hybrid culture.
This type of culture is known as biological home and that their newly accepted home. The
writers who by birth are Indian but living out of the India are called as immigrant writers. They
have taken the theme of immigration in their writings and have a standpoint. They themselves
have the experience of being immigrant. The Indian writers know the both culture that is Indian
and newly adopted one, along with that they have highlighted the pathetic condition of women in
both the culture. Immigrant writers tried to express their feelings and sufferings what they have
faced as immigrants.
Indian immigrants writers like Anita Desai, Bharathi Mukherjee, Arundhati Roy, Chitra
Banerjee and many other who continuously dealt with the theme of immigration. Bharathi
Mukherjee has expressed the status of immigrants in America. The works like jasmine and
darkness which encounter with Canadian racism. The Indian writers like Jumpha Lahiri„s short
stories presented the picture of harsh journey of becoming American. She told that America as a
land of illusion. Her famous work interpreter of maladies 1999 the characters in the novel which
points out the problem of dual identity, American in clothing, and body language but Indian by
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, a Bengali woman writer, as she belongs to post- independence
group of Indian writers who have been writing in English. She proved herself as a distinct,
talented and extraordinary south Asian woman writer. She is the one of the writer who spent
much of time of life in outside the India. Some parts of her writing autobiographical dealt with
her personal experiences in India and America. chitra?s writing mostly explores the themes of
immigrant women from the feminine point of view.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni was born in Calcutta on 29th July 1956. She brought up in new
Alipore in Calcutta, and spent the nineteen years of her life in India. Chitra?s father Rajenra
kumar Banerjee was an accountant by profession and her mother Tahini Banerjee was a
schoolteacher. Chitra was one of the girl children among four children. She was second girl child
and other are brothers were partha, dhruva and surya. She studied at Loreto house, a convent
school run by Irish nuns. She got her bachelor?s degree in English from Presidency College,
university of Calcutta in 1976 and in the same year she moved to America. She earned her
master degree in English from the wright state university in Dayton Ohio in the year1978, she
moved at the age of nineteen to pursue her higher education. She lived in Chiacgo and Ohio
before she settled in Sunnydale, California in 1979. She received Ph.D in English from the
University of California. In 1984 Divakaruni tried different jobs to pay for her education.
Divakaruni is interested in the issues involving women?s problem faced by them through society.
she works with Afghani women refugees and she became the founder member and president of
the organization. This organization helps south Asian women facing domestic violence,
emotional abuse and cultural alienation. When she left the India she started to write about female
sufferings. Her writings blend together myth, mystry and to present the reality of life. She was a
well-known port before became a novelist. She has written a lot of poem based on variety of
themes. She has four volumes of poetry. Leaving Yuba City 1997, Dark Like River 1987, The
Reason for Nasturtiums 1990 and Black Candle 1991. The main area of interest remains the
immigrant women. Chitra has published more 50 magazines which include Atlantic monthly and
New Yorker. Divakaruni was a great port before a novelist and she has won many awards for her
writings national and international level.
Her writing has been containing several Asian American anthologies they are best American
short stories and the push chart price anthology. Divakarni?s works have been translated in to 11
languages. Her collection of short stories, arranged marriage won American book award 1996,
bay area book reviewer?s award and the PEN Josephine miles award for fiction. The mysterious
of spices was on several best book lists, it also included in 100 best book of 20th century. The
conch bearer was included in best book 2003 by publisher weekly. The life of strangers was
included in O?HENRY prize stories. The wine of desire was included in best books of 2012 by
Los angle times and San Francisco chronicle. Mrs. Dutta writes a letter was included in best
American short stories in 1999. Black candle she received honorable mention, Patterson poetry
prize 1992. She also received California arts council award in 1998, C.Y. Lee creative writing
award (1995), Helen Ginsberg Poetry Prize 1994. Santa Claire arts Council Award California
1994, Enters Editor?s Choice Award by cream city review 1990.
Cultural jewel award by Indian culture center Houston 2009, Gerbode foundation award
California 1992, international hose alumina of the year award by university of California 2008,
south Asian literary association distinguished author award 2007. Divakarni has judged many
prestigious awards such as national book award and the PEN Faulkner award. The mistress of
spices and sister of my art these two books of her adopted in to movies. Divakarni has been
described as an award winning author who has dealt with the troubled lives of immigrant
She has projected in her work about hollowness of immigrant dream, the pain, the suffering and
the horror lives faced by the immigrant women. Divakaruni?s fiction or poetry, reader
continuously moves between socio cultural environments and to know several aspects of the
lives of immigrant women. Divakaruni?s pictures the restricted existence of women in the
society. She always shows that there is always a ray of hope in life. Living Yuba City appeared
in 1997 it includes new poem as well as old one from dark like river. The poems are about
women?s from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. These poems theme are based on women
problem, family life, exile, alienation, ethnicity, domesticity of love and romance. Living Yuba
City covers the idea of author?s adventure of going to convent school in India by iris nuns and
history of Indian immigrants in America.
Through her writings shows how boundaries could destroy and how different art forms are not
dependent entities but they can influence and inspire each other. Divakaruni?s poems collections
are dealt with the experiences of immigrant women and their struggle for identity. Divakaruni?s
first collection of short stories arranged marriage 1995 focused on Indian immigrant women and
how they caught between two worlds. The characters are liberated and trapped by the cultural
changes as well as struggled to find their identities. These stories explore the crossed cultural
identities of women. The parents in India generally arrange marriages for their children. It also
elaborated migration has broadened the physique Indian immigrants women. The second
generation of Indian immigrant easily accepts the free and easy American culture where as their
parents who have migrated as adults they find difficult to accept the American culture.
Indian institution of arranged marriage various aspects analyzed by Divakaruni. The stories
capture the experience of Indian immigrant women mostly from professional classes and
working classes. Divakaruni says that it is outcome of her imagination and experience which
deals with domestic violence, crime, racism, economic, disparity, abortion and divorce. Devkarni
has created contradictory as well as connected fictional worlds. In Cloths narrator Susmitha
husband dies and she has to take a decision whether to stay in America or to go back to India.
The common theme runs through the stories in India immigrant women struggling to adjust and
to fight to find their identity in society. Divakaruni?s first novel the mistress of species 1997 is
written with mixture of mystery and reality. The protagonist Tilo (thilothama) is the important
female character the mistress of species.
Tilo got the super natural power through which she helps people to overcome their difficulties.
Tilo reaches the island of species which she calls her destiny. In that island she meets first-
mother who teaches her about the power of species and rules for mistress. Then Tilo become
heads for Oakland, then she went to California where she setup a short to sell the species she was
well knowledge about the elements used for curries and kurumas. She helps her customer to
overcome all their difficulties of life. The chapters of the novel are titled on the species name
such as turmeric, fenugreek etc. these are the ingredients used by Indian cooking commonly.
Ingredients have special powers and Tilo practices her magical power using them. The visitors of
her shop are local ingredient community and that include abused wife, inexperienced taxi driver,
old man, young women etc.
Tilo gives wisdom to each of them and the correct spices to clear the evil. Her life takes a turn
one day when a man on motor cycle crushes the outside her store. When Tilo saw his injuries as
well as tries to ignore the mutual attraction. That young man touches her one day her life changes
and they began to fall in love. This man belongs to American architect. Tilo has to choose either
to serve her own people by magical power or to choose the way of her own happiness. She hangs
between social responsibilities and personnel happiness, which is the dominant theme of the
Then Sister of My Heart (1999), it is written in realistic mode. This novel explains the lives of
two girls Sudha and Anju, whose lives have been changed after her marriage. They apart from
each other Anju goes to California with her husband while Sudha stays in India. Sudha and Anju
is good friends and cousins father of both the girls died mysteriously on the same day when the
girls are born. These two girls belong to Chatterjee family and grow in to womanhood. Anju and
sudha are bonded closely together. Both the sisters are trained to be good daughter and wives.
Marriages of both the girls are arranged due to some reasons. Sudha?s marriage is arranged in
hurry as she was so beautiful and her mother does not want to take any risk. In Anju?s case
illness of her mother forced her to marry. The novel focuses on dominance of male in Indian
society where women are always treated inferior.
The novel is set in Calcutta and projects the marginalized status In Indian society. The unknown
errors of our lives 2001 are a one of the short stories which are set up in India and America. It
contains nine stories and nine female characters, they all caught between the tradition and beliefs
of biological and adopted home. It is about lack of communication, unarticulated love and
recalled memories. This is an extraordinary collection of short stories that draw the pain, loss and
alienation of the immigrant experience.
The novel the vine of desire published in the year 2002. It is the second part of the novel sister of
my heart. In the vine of desire novel two closed cousin, Anju and Sudha they came together in
America to face new culture which is totally opposite to the Indian culture where women are
always restricted, deprived and marginalized. Both the girls have a deep-rooted love between
them which provides them a strong support. That confidence makes them survive specially
Sudha to make her life for herself and for her daughter. These two women have different
relationships with men and women within and outside the immigrant Indian community. The
bond between these women is really disturbed when they came to know the deep passionate
feelings Anju?s husband has for Sudha. Sudha always tries to find her identity and loneliness. At
last she admits herself to Sunil?s ill desires, but flees from their apartment to avoid more disaster.
Anju also faces the problem of loneliness but she tries to engage herself in creative work.
Neela victory song 2002 is first children book written by Divakaruni. This book surrounded by
the main character Neela twelve year old girl and she has the interest in Indian freedom
movement. The main aim of the novel is to shoe the struggle for Indian independence and hoe a
small girl see that in her open point of view. Neela is afraid of arranged marriage set up by their
parents. It also raises the question of being a girl they have to face lots of problem like lack of
education and marriages. The Corch Bearer is second children book published in 2003 it is full
of action, adventure and magic. Anand is a twelve year old boy given a conch shells that possess
magical power. Anand faces the good and evil parts within himself during the journey.
Queen of dreams 2004 the sixth novel of Divakaruni that also contain magic elements. Mrs.
Gupta„s daughter Rakhi is a young artist and divorced mother who living in Berkley. In
California .Her mother has the ability of foresee the dream and guide the people thought their
fates. Sometimes Rakhi feels isolated from her mother„s past in India and the dream world she
inhabits .Rakhi wanted to know about the other side of her existence. Rakhi and other immigrant
faced lots of problem. Racism, hate –crime and ugly violence are forced on then again and again
they are dominated by their colour of skin. Effected by horrible events Rakhi got the gifted of
new love and understanding for her family. The writer has tried to take the reader into immigrant
culture and their miserable state. She forces the reader to see racism through the point of a
The novel the Palace of Illusion 2006 it narrates the great Indian epic Mahabharata which is
historical, mythical and magical. Through the female character Panchali author has given the rare
feminine interpretation of the epic. Author tries to uncover the hidden female emotions which is
equally interesting one. Shadowland 2009, one amazing thing 2010 and oleander girl 2013 it is
the latest novel written by Divakaruni. It explores the problem of identity and culture. Chitra
Banerjee Divakaruni became one of the best leading writers of Indian heritage writing in
English. Though she born in India but she settled in America and has been telling the stories of
Indian immigrant women trying to be accommodated and assimilated in the free socio cultural
environment of India. Women are portrayed by her as exploited, subjected and dominant in male
These women have experienced the sufferings if they cross the magical circle drawn around
them by their home culture. Women are struggled to create their own identity out of their
immigrant existence, they fight against society, class, conflicts, gender discrimination and the
problem of female feticide, financial issues like dowry system have been explode. Her writing is
mingled with her knowledge about India and her experience as an immigrant. She knows both
the culture well which find its expression in her literary works. She often compares culture by
putting her female characters into two different cultures. Her protagonist is deeply from Indian
culture though they struggle for freedom and independence. In her literary works she explores
the nature and scope of trauma of immigrant women?s life. She proved to be one of the important
Indian women novelist writing on women issues from the perspectives of immigrants. In her
most of the works she attempts to explore how either the individuals or society exploiting
women in modern times, she has changed the concept of stereotypes thinking. She wants her
women?s to project themselves as human beings and not as object but they are equal to men.