Characterism In Breast Giver

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Mahaswetha Devi (1926) one of the foremost literary personalities stands as a significant figure in the field of socially devoted literature. Mahaswetha Devi’s Breast - Giver’ which is taken from the trilogy ‘Breast Stories’ and translated into English by Gayathri Chakravorty Spivak is a story that builds itself on the cruel ironies of caste , class, and patriarchy. In a tale of a Bengali wet-nurse, Devi shows the female protagonist, Jashoda living in 1960’s India as she is compelled to take up professional motherhood, when her Brahman husband loses both his feet. Mahaswetha Devi keeps Jashoda’s name unchanged from the Sanskrit scriptural form. Although the orthodox Hindu middle class nominally reverses the Brahman, the prerogatives of economic…show more content…
While providing a comfortable life it also gives a status for the individual in a society. The notable Bengali writer Mahaswetha Devi’s short story ‘Breast – Giver’ revolves round the life of Jashoda, a poor Brahmin woman. Her husband Kangalicharan has lost his leg at an accident and subsequent gross negligence on the part of a member of the rich Haldar family. Jashoda acts as a wet nurse for the new-born children of the Haldar family just to earn livelihood for her invalid husband, her own children and for herself. Her breast, which is a gift of nature and a source of nourishment, thus comes as a commodity, a saleable item. Finally, Jashoda develops a lump on her breast which is diagnosed as breast – cancer. Even the surgeon is shocked to know that in her life Jashoda has breast-fed over fifty children, she dies a painful death, thrown off both by the Haldar family and her own…show more content…
Money can earn status and social responsibility. Despite her upper caste birth, Jashoda in ‘Breast-Giver’ is not in a dominating position because her family is awfully poor. On the other hand the Haldars, who hold a lower position in social hierarchy, can dictate terms because of their affluence. It is her stark poverty that compels Jashoda to earn her living by breast –feeding the children of the Haldar family where the daughters-in-law can afford to refuse to suckle their own children for keeping their figures attractive. Gayathri Chakravorthy Spivak in her essay ‘A Literary Representation of the Subaltern: Mahaswetha Devi’s Stanadayini ‘Breast-Giver’ has justly commented on the role of economy in defining subalternity. She argues that even the Brahminical identity of Jashoda is brutalized in this story: This --- identity is a cover for the brutalizing of the Brahmin when the elite in caste is subaltern in class. In the case of class-manipulation, Poverty(is) the fault of the individuals, not an intrinsic part of a class society, in the case of caste manipulation, the implicit assumption is the reverse, the Brahmin is systematically excellent , not necessarily so as an individual ( Spivak,
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