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Being modern Ananda wish to control his wife and does not want to execute her own choice and dreams as he thinks that she is merely his shadow. He wants his wife to be a perfect homemaker. This proves an orthodox patriarchal mind setup is still rooted in his mind. Desiree Lydia Gomes observes:
However, the patriarchal issues as portrayed by the male protagonist, Ananda, are not completely overt. There is a subtle underlying patriarchal tone to his character and his actions.
He is not seen as one who overtly tries to control and oppress his wife. However, through his various attempts to change her and steer their lives according to his reasoning, we can see how he tries to control Nina throughout the story.
In order to mingle with the Canadian culture Ananda forces Nina to change her dressing sense and eating habits. Ananda conveys that they are going to meet Gary’s house Nina told that she likes to wear sari, but Ananda shows negative sign to her dress.
‘My God, they’ll think I’ve married a Christmas tree’.
‘Isn’t it a party?’
‘It’s a barbecue. People will be wearing jeans and t-shirts’.
‘I didn’t bring ordinary saris’
‘Here all saris are extraordinary. Wear your salwar kameez’
Nina put the brocade away and wore one of the five salwar kamzees she had been living in since she came. (TI 144)
In the male oriented society, the husband never treats his in-laws as his own family members.
Even though Ananda is in Canada he never leaves his patriarchal attitude because of this attitude he himself makes their relationship very odd, it leads to psychological torture on his wife. Nina informs Ananda that his mother-in-law is asking about children, he talks cruelly about his mother-in-law and makes his wife a prey of emotional violence.
He said all kinds of unreasonable things such as: if there was anyone she shed left out of her discussions, please to let him know, he would fill that person in also, he hadn’t realized getting married was such a violation of privacy, and may be if children were so important to her, she should have suggested a fertility test before the engagement……. back and forth, back and forth, the anger mounting, the words meaningless, expect to wound.
A man is the one who controls economic power within his family. Being head of his family he is not bothering about his own expenditure but he gives a patriarchal check on his wife expenses. Nina is heavily dependent on her husband economically because she has no income. After involving in sex therapy, Ananda has an illegal affair with a white Canadian girl Mandy, and spends a lot of dollars for her. When her wife purchases a sweater for three hundred dollars, on seeing the bill he scolds for her extravagance. Even though he is free to make money, he tries to exhibit his dominate power over her expenditure.
‘Three hundred dollars! You spent three hundred dollars on your clothes? Why, my most expensive suit is a hundred and fifty.’
‘You could have brought an ordinary sweater. Why do you have to dress in cashmere?’
‘I should have come with you. You go alone, you lose your head.’
When Nina comes to Halifax, he is the one who encourages her to wear the western clothes, but now he is not ready to spend some amount of dollars for his wife. Explicitly, he makes her to feel guilty conscience for wasting his dollars. Again Desiree Lydia Gomes remarks that
Financial control over women is one of the main acts of patriarchy by men. This is especially true if the woman is not working and/or is financially dependent on the man who is earning. In this way, if a woman does not have any money of her own, it then curtails various other aspects of her life that involves certain expenses. She cannot socialize, buy herself necessities, have an emergency fund, pay for health needs, or even something paying for transportation. She thus can be confined physically and financially. (21)
In the patriarchy society where women are not free to spend money for themselves, he never restrict his expenses but he advices his wife to reduce her expenses. Ananda does not share his income to his wife. She asserts that she wants know how much he is earning, he conveys that it is not easy to tell because he does not earn any permanent amount. While the argument goes on, he immediately exposes his debt to his wife.
Who knows what you earn, you never tell me, never share, how am I supposed to know?
‘I’m self-employed,’ he shouted. ‘I don’t earn one fixed amount, is that so difficult for you to understand?’
‘You never even give me a basic idea.’
A couple has to share everything with each other. When the husband tries to hide something then the wife will lose her faith and it leads to conflict circumstances this is what occurs in the life of Ananda and Nina. She understands the circumstances that she is emotionally, financially and socially heavily dependent on him. Now she determines to be independent economically “From now on, I will only buy clothes when I have money of my own”
Nina feels that her marriage life is meaningless because she cannot get fulfilment of her emotions and desires because of his patriarchal behaviour. An education of Nina liberates her suffering and it is her education gives the boldness and assertiveness that enables her to fight back against her husband and the age-old patriarchal ideology. Nina is not willing to surrender herself in the marriage world.
Nina wants to get rid out from the clutches of his patriarchal attitude. Nahal says, “A woman should be aware, self-controlled, strong-willed, self-reliant, and rational having faith in the inner strength of womanhood. A meaningful change can be brought only from within by being free in the deeper psychic sense As a modern woman she does not want to be subordinate to her husband. She thinks that no one can control her body and life. Finally Nina gets confidence and she wants to bring a prosperous change by completely erasing the image of sacrificial and traditional wife.
Like Simon de Beauvoir Manju Kapur wants the Indian society to view every woman as a human being. Kapur condemns the institution of conventional marriage where woman is viewed as a reproductive gadget and procreative tool only and underestimate her selfhood. In the conventional structure, the motherhood is viewed as a site of power for woman, as well as a site of exploitation. As the woman novelist, Kapur is well aware of the marginalisation of Indian women even in an independent India, she explicitly expresses her feminist vision by raising her voice against the Indian patriarchal system.
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