Gendered Home in the Short Stories of Shashi Deshpande

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Home is a geographical space -- a site where we live but it is also ‘an ideal and an imaginary that is imbued with feelings’1 .Somerville(1992) has picked out seven key aspects of being at home: shelter, hearth,(emotional and physical well-being),heart(loving and caring relations), privacy, roots(source of identity and meaning, fullness),abode and paradise(ideal home as distinct from everyday life)2.Down the ages, we have associated ‘home’ as a haven, far away from the hostility and surveillance of the outside world. It is in the privacy of home that an individual gives expression to his ideas. The domestic items from curtains and furniture to books and records all contribute to the development of an individual. In all its details, a home…show more content…
As women grow up, they are encouraged to build a wall around them to keep themselves away from the scary outsiders, resulting in the gradual internalization of fear which ultimately leaves them defenseless and less-confident of themselves. Marriage is that desired aim in a woman’s life when finally they would no longer need to live inside that ‘invisible wall’: in reality, one sort of circumscribed life leads to a different kind of dependence. In Deshpande’s It Was Dark, a woman is reminded of how submission to a man’s wishes makes life a lot less difficult: ‘I had submitted and miraculously, it had made things easier.’7 She, however, decides to let her daughter live inside the walls but only to find her child sexually abused. This does not startle her as she grew up with the constant fear of violence that now stalks her daughter’s life. In a male-dominated society manly violence has been as ‘normal’ as ‘womanly’ submission. If men grow up learning to be violent in his actions, women also learn to cope up with the one singular piece of lesson: ‘you must submit.’8 Submission is key to safety and peace in a gendered home which has different codes of behavior for both male and female. Refusal to toe the gender- line could be always violent as the newly wedded woman learns at her cost on the honeymoon trip in Deshpande’s story The Intrusion.

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