Hearing 'subaltern' Voices of Resistance in the Works of Mahasweta Devi, Taslima Nasrin and Monica Ali

Hearing 'subaltern' Voices of Resistance in the Works of Mahasweta Devi, Taslima Nasrin and Monica Ali

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This thesis germinated from Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's essay qCan the Subaltern Speak?q which has provoked many discussions and the use of the word qSubalternq has become a cliche. However, the representations of Subalterns remain an important element in any South Asian literatures. I have attempted to show how Mahasweta Devi (1926- ), Taslima Nasrin (1962- ), and Monica Ali (1967- ), three writers of South Asian descent belonging to different generations, make it possible for the voices of these marginal characters or Subalterns to be heard. In my first chapter while exploring five short stories of Devi, I show that these women take recourse to the use of their bodies as they are the only available revenue they have for resistance. In the second chapter of my dissertation, which is on Mother of 1084 (1998), I show how the Naxalite movement brings two subaltern mothers closer in spite of class barrier. This fate of being a Subaltern links Devi's women characters to those of Nasrin and Ali as they struggle with the oppression of patriarchy, religion and immigrant life. While discussing the works (poems, novel, autobiography and critical writing) of Nasrin in chapter three, I focus on the female body and sexuality, and how being a Muslim woman portraying Muslim women's sexuality poses a problem for her. Ali's women characters in Break Lane (2003) present a different dimension as they are displaced from their homes. Thus, in my fourth chapter I argue that in addition to being displaced they have to learn to assimilate and adopt the foreign society as their own and at the same time they struggle with the rules of family life and religion. While explicating the themes, examining the plot structures and exploring the characters of these writers I argue that they have been successful in representing the subaltern women. I defend my statement by using the Standpoint Feminist theory according to which every writer's social location gives them the capability to write about their own society. My reading of the texts tells me that these writers are careful not to speak for the Subaltern, but rather use the art of literature to let them speak for themselves.Being an Adivasi and a female a€œis characterized by the private part being made public, which subverts conventional notions about the ... When Upin decides to take pictures for the second time, Gangor asks for a hundred rupees per picture.

Title:Hearing 'subaltern' Voices of Resistance in the Works of Mahasweta Devi, Taslima Nasrin and Monica Ali
Publisher:ProQuest - 2008

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