A Feminist Analysis of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's 'Clothes'

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The short story "Clothes" by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni deals with the story of a young Indian woman and her cultural and emotional experience as she marries and comes to America to discover a new world, different from her Indian home, with clashes of cultural identities, and one in which she eventually wants to fit in. The subject in it is not as important for the message the author wants to convey. The symbolic transition of the character, Sumita, from one culture to another, is portrayed in the short story through her clothes and her attitude towards the garments. However, this short story is not important only for the issue of culture, but also reflects the status of women in the Indian society and the differences as opposed to the American one. This comparison is yet again done in part through clothes. This short story can be analyzed also from the point of view of the feminist criticism because the story as well as its symbols point out to a certain state of the way in which women are perceived by the society, not necessarily only in the Indian society but as well in the American one. Feminism means, "paying attention to women. It means paying attention when women appear as characters and noticing when they do not. It means making some invisible mechanisms visible and pointing out, when necessary that while the emperor has no clothes, the empress has no body. It means paying attention to women as writers and as readers or audience members. It means taking

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