Gender In Salman Rushdie´s The Moor's Last Sigh

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Gender debate has its origin from the period unknown. The consequences of this debate are umpteen in number and interplay of dualities in women is one among them. Women in Salman Rushdie’s novels vividly display multiple dual elements inbuilt in them, and this paper deconstructs the mystery behind the split-personality of Aurora Zogoiby of Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh. Just identifying the dual elements in her would be meaningless if the causes and origins of these dual elements are left unexplored. The views expressed by psychoanalysts, Simone de Beauvoir, Ajay Skaria, Nicole Weikgenannt, Chandra Mohanty, Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Aloka Patel, Catherine Cundy, and Justyna Deszcz have been skimmed and scanned to throw light on these…show more content…
The dual roles played by Aurora Zogoiby in this novel can also be aptly equated with Mahmoud’s (Bilquis Hyder’s father) comments on the emotions and images that attach to the word ‘Woman’: “Is there no end to the burdens this word is capable of bearing? Was there ever such a broad-backed and also such a dirty word?” (Shame 62) Therein lay the roots of the binarism – being innocent/whore, bold/submissive and shameful/shameless – which Aurora Zogoiby embodies like both sides of a coin. Labeling the portrayal of woman characters in Midnight’s Children, as prejudiced on gender basis and offensive, Patel observes that Parvati, Padma and Durga are presented as iconic Hindu Goddesses of power or shakthi or the revolutionary force and at the same time, ironically, as symbols of celibacy, impotence and destruction: “The woman, then, in the case of Rushdie is trapped between the two extremes of the Devi and the Devil.” (Patel 87) These remarks of Patel seem applicable to Aurora Zogoiby too. It is not the descriptive potential of gender difference, says Chandra Mohanty, but the privileged positioning and explanatory potential of gender difference as the origin of oppression that needs to be questioned. Women are taken as a unified ‘powerless’ group even before the analysis in question which is merely a matter of specifying the context after the fact. This analytic strategy is questioned by Aurora Zogoiby as she rebels and pops out of her oppression / traditionally assigned territories, momentarily and later, recoils back passively into her shell that is
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