Salman Rushdie The Free Radio Analysis

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“The Free Radio,” by Salman Rushdie is a short story that describes societal expectations of gender roles in a traditional Indian culture. Ramani, a young rickshaw puller, is seduced by the beauty of the thief’s widow to undergo a government sterilization program for them to get married. The thief’s widow, already having five children alive and two dead, did not want to conceive any more children. Ramani was further convinced on complying with the widow when being told that participants were to be rewarded with receiving a first-class battery radio from the Central Government in New Delhi. With the sterilization the protagonist underwent, the narrator has challenged his masculinity and his ability to meet the expectations of his gender role. The narrator holds a strong belief that Ramani is being controlled by the widow and acting in ways she wants him to. The widow is described…show more content…
He claimed that he did not seek the health officer to retrieve his gift because he did not want to seem “greedy.” He had the delusional idea that he would be praised by the health officer for his voluntary act in taking his own manhood. Ramani took the initiative to walk into the white caravan in search for his free radio. The narrator describes that “sounds of disagreement” came from the caravan and that the “youths in armbands went in to see what was becoming.” Ramani was thrown out of the caravan with “his hair-grease smudged onto his face and blood coming from his mouth.” With the vasectomy, Ramani was looked as less of a man to the other males in the community. His expectations of living up to the standards of a male in society were underestimated. It can be inferred that his actions set him up for failure when he approached the van. He was manhandled by people he considered friends. He was viewed as an easy target to manipulate because a large part of his manhood was removed from him
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