That Long Silence Analysis

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In the novel That Long silence Shashi Deshpande has created a powerful character Jaya who tries to erase a long silence and fight the problems of self-revelation and self-assessment. Jaya is a representative of the entire female community who never broke their silence. The author attempts to point out how Indian culture and society remains silent and indifferent on the subject of women. Shashi Deshpande shows how social institutions like marriage and family affect the free expression and identity of an individual. The novelist shows the transgression of the protagonist from victimisation to emancipation. Deshpande highlights the power relations in the patriarchal
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When Mohan questions her she does not even utter a word. Mohan tells “I reached my brains trying to think of an answer”. Her silence becomes an act of resistance and revolt. A woman is conditioned to answer her husband when questioned but Jaya refuses to do so. . She breaks the conventions of the patriarchy and no longer wishes to conform to it. silence becomes her weapon of resistance and assertion.
Jaya giving up the news paper column ‘Sita’ which Mohan liked very much can be seen as an act of resistance. Jaya who does not have a voice for herself no longer wants to b the mythological character ‘Sita’ who silently obeys her husband. She gives up her ‘ideal’ role model of a wife. This signifies that she is no longer ready to ‘perform’ the role of a house wife. She readily steps out of her safe zone that oppresses her. When jaya examines her own self she realises that she had not been herself anywhere. She tells “the woman who had once lived here. mohan’s wife, Rahul’s and Rati’s mother. Not
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Jyothi sing in her book ‘Indian women novelists’ tells “the process of reflection during the course of articulation has given her an important insight: she realises that fragmentation of the self is not possible. Earlier she had cut off the bits of her that had refused to be Mohan’s wife; she had denied certain parts of herself. But now she decides to live ‘whole’, retaining all that did not fit in the straightjacket of “wifehood”. She had decided not to look for clues in Mohan’s face and then give “him the answer I know he wants.” This decision fills her with vigour and buoyancy and the novel ends on the affirmative note of hope as against frustration and despair with which it had begun. The narrator concludes by saying life has always to be made
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