Term Paper: Female Characters

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[. . .] One can see that Mrs. Ames is quite unlike the traditional woman of the time who would stick by her abusive husband irrespective of what he does. She does of course plan to go back to him but only after teaching him a lesson i.e. she was not some toy that he could play with whenever it pleased him. Thus Mrs. Ames, like Emily appears as a brave protagonist who has the courage to do what she thinks is right and throws caution to the wind.

Bharati Mukherjee

The main character of Mukherjee's "Hindus" who is also the narrator is Leela, a woman that lived outside of India for the better part of her life and has assimilated the different cultures that she was exposed to during this time. The most outstanding about Leela, which made her stand out from the rest of the Indian women, was the fact that she had married an Englishman i.e. her husband Derek.

As Leela mentions in the story later on, by doing so she had committed an act that was tantamount to sin for Indian women are not allowed to marry outside their caste let alone marry a Christian man. Apparently she did not want to be associated with India for she tells the Lebanese man that she is an American citizen. She has severed all ties with her country and repeatedly emphasizes on the fact that she is an American citizen and not an Indian irrespective of what other people say. Such blatant disregard for traditions and caste is unthinkable of for Indian women and is supposed to reflect on their character. Even to this day women from 'good' and respectable Indian families are not allowed to marry by their own choice but are expect to marry the man that their parents pick out for them.

Another important thing that distinguishes Leela from other Indian women is the fact that she feels that her country owes her nothing and vice versa. Of course a sense of patriotism is lacking in most Indians but at the same time both men and women are found complaining about their country and the government and what little it has done for them. Leela holds an entirely different view in this regard and feels that India has nothing to offer her anymore. This is perhaps due to the fact that she feels alienated having lived abroad for so long and so has severed all ties with her country for the same reason. One also finds that the story does not reveal much about her family and so one can assume that she is perhaps not in touch with them anymore. It is these little things that make Leela stand out from all other Indian women thereby enabling her to shatter the commonly held stereotypes about them.


The above analysis shows that the female characters of the above mentioned stories are the direct opposite of the women of their own times. They are initially insecure and hesitant to try something new, to pursue a change but over time they realize that it is something that they must do for their own peace of mind and security. They have one thing in common - they are brave and are determined to continue living the way they think is right.

They appear as distinct characters with their individual identities and unlike most women of their societies do not become a part of the background in which they exist. It is perhaps because of this distinction that they pay the price through suffering throughout their lives. However this did not unnerve them and they continued to stick by what they thought was right. By taking a stand and sticking to what they believe in, these women shun the stereotypes that their societies had cast them in.

Works Cited

Costabile, Barbara. "Astronomer's Wife." Available online at http://caxton.stockton.edu/paintedlady/stories/storyReader$10

Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily." Available online at http://homer.hcrhs.k12.nj.us/hipsite/questtheory/awradzin.htm

Mukherjee, Bharati. "Hindus." Available online at http://www.emory.edu/ENGLISH/Bahri/Mukherjee.html

Works Cited [END OF PREVIEW]

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