Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 11 : 5 May 2011
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.





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M. S. Thirumalai

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The Plight of Women in Shashi Despande's Novel
The Binding Vine

S. Thirunavukkarasu, Ph.D.
N. Elayaraja, M.A., M.Phil.

Cover Page of Binding Vine

The Binding Vine: Three Running Strands

Shashi Desphande studies the issues and problems of contemporary middle class women. Her heroines are sensitive, intelligent and career-oriented. Through her novels, she expresses the frustrations and disappointments of women who experience social and cultural oppression in the society.

The novel The Binding Vine has three strands running parallel. These are the stories of three suffering women; they are different in age and time. They are Kalpana, who is unconscious; Mira, who is dead, and Urmi who discovers the meaning of life through the stories of Kalpana and Mira.

The journey starts with Urmi and many characters join with her. The main plot is about Urmi and her grief at her daughter Anu's death. The stories of Kalpana and Mira are the sub-plots. They join with the main plot.

Individual Dreams

In this novel both Mira and Kalpana have their own dreams, aspirations and demands. But the society does not honour these. Mira has secret dreams to be a poet. She aspires to write and she does write. But she cannot make them public. Her poems are hidden in a trunk. Her voice is muted by the social norms. Her demands to get her individuality are not recognized.

In the case of Kalpana, she aspires to her individual freedom to dress well, to earn and to marry a person of her choice. This freedom is crushed before it takes shape.

Feminist Ideas in Sub-plots

These two sub-plots have strong feminist ideas. Mira tries to speak through her poetry, Kalpana openly rebels. They have choices they couldn't exercise. That is however, not the end Urmi, Vanna, and otheres have many choices open to them.

Here the plot shows social progress. Urmi has a verbal attack on Inni and Vanna. She is angry and imitated; the reason is her inability to bear her grief of the death of her daughter. During this period she engages herself in reading Mira's unpublished poems. She finds them interesting because they reveal the innermost secrets of a woman life. Then she meets Kalpana, the young rape victim, she discovers similarities in the two cases Kalpana is raped by her own relative whereas Mira is by her own husband.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

S. Thirunavukkarasu, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English
Government Arts College
Tamilnadu, India

N. Elayaraja, M.A., M.Phil.
Lecturer in English
Bharathiyar College of Engineering & Technology
Karaikal 609 403
Puducherry Union Territory

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