Women continue to be deprived of their right to live independently and within acceptable boundaries. Indian women frequently take up the responsibilities of preservers of culture and tradition. They are constrained by an excessive number of laws and regulations, most of which are justified in the name of customs and religion. The patriarchal power that is inherent in Indian society shapes how they experience the Indian value system. In the case of the lives of women in the diaspora, due to their struggles with the financial and psychological uncertainties of exile, the responsibilities of family and career, and the claims of both the old and new patriarchies, they find themselves doubly disadvantaged. Additionally, these women must fight against pervasive racial prejudice in nearly every sphere of their lives. The works of Indian American author, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, touch on a variety of diasporic topics as well as the experiences of female immigrants in their adoptive homes. The Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni portrays the double impact of war and the ripple effect of terror on women that transcends national boundaries. The terror attack of 9/11 impacted the lives of both citizens and the diaspora communities in the USA. Terror creates an environment of unease that further constrains the liberties of individuals, particularly women. Women were expected to be peaceful, comply with their gender-specific roles, and dissociate themselves from violence. The novel shows the struggles of Bengali-American Karobi, who travels to a post-9/11 America, with a burning desire to uncover her family’s secrets. Though a life of freedom is present at her fingertips, she ultimately chooses to return to her homeland as she has promises to keep and duties to fulfill. This sacrifice of her individual choice in favour of family expectations reveals the encompassing power of love that she feels towards her grandparents, a love that diminishes the negative effects of war-induced terror on a family. The objective of the paper is to analyse the power imbalances caused by war-induced terror on a family that causes Indian women to be relegated to a confining set of stereotypical roles.
Thampy, Chitra Susan and V N, Pauline
"The Ripple Effect of Terror: Escalating the Rules of Patriarchal Conformity upon the Psyche of Women in The Oleander Girl,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
7, Article 4.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss7/4