Brick Lane

1029 Words5 Pages
‘Portrayal of women in literature is heavily influenced by the social and cultural views of its context, but it is the author’s view that matters most’
Through close analysis of Monica Ali’s Brick Lane, one is able to see the various ways women are represented in literature, showing that both social and cultural views of its context, as well as the author’s own view are equally important in crafting an ingenious storyline. In this novel, Ali focuses on several Bengali women as they embark on a journey of self discovery. Ali portrays them as suppressed by their patriarchal culture, by their religion, as well as being resilient fighters against injustice. At times, Ali conforms to Bengali cultural views, however, at others, they are
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The allusion to God knowing everything, in ‘Only God knows the answer’ and ‘if it is God’s will’ spoken by Nazneen in response to Chanu’s queries, further shows the submissiveness of women to God and fate, believing that God makes the choices and has the answers Hence, Monica Ali conforms to Bengali social and cultural expectations by representing women as religious beings who are both liberated yet suppressed by Islam.
Monica Ali also portrays Bengali women as strong willed fighters who defy cultural expectations, challenging the socio-cultural views of Bengali culture. The highly patriarchal Bengali culture expects women to be submissive to men as well as their culture; however, the women in Brick Lane continually challenge this. Hasina observes a beggar woman at a Bangladesh street corner getting abused by men, and the description, ‘she start shuffling away and shout’ symbolises the fighting spirit of Bengali women against the patriarchal forces in their culture. Nazneen’s daughter Shahana is also rebellious and her disrespecful tone in her statement ‘Bor-ing…What’s wrong with you!’ to her father, further adds to the representation of a rebellious young woman who strongly disagrees with traditional Bengali cultural values. At the Bengal Tigers meeting, Nazneen describes a confrontation between the women and
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