Seeking the Self, a Study of the Female Protagonists in the Novel of Anita Nair's 'Ladies Coupe'

6086 Words Jul 25th, 2012 25 Pages
Seeking the self: A Study Of The Female Protagonists In Anita Nair’s ‘Ladies’Coupe’

Dr. Kumkum Bhardwaj
Professor & Head, Dept of Humanities
Skyline Institute of Engineering and Technology
Greater Noida

Anita Nair is a name indelible in the arena of female Indian writers in English. Her books, set in the everyday world of India, mesmerize the reader with evocative language and descriptions. For Bangalore based author Anita Nair Kerala is the source of inspiration, weakness and strength. In her works Nair presents the dilemmas that women face in their relationships with parents, husbands, siblings, friends, employers and children and their struggle towards self-realization. It is not easy to be a contemporary Indian woman. On the one hand
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As strangers who know that they are never going to see each other again, and who have nothing to lose by baring their souls out, they tell each other about their lives. Once locked in together all six share their life stories, quite like the pilgrims do in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and discover that they have never been living for themselves, but for others, governed by societal pressures. In a sense each story is separate but “their being together in one compartment provides the framework and holds the story together like a ribbon holding a bouquet of different kinds of flowers of different shapes, colours and fragrances.” (Khushwant Singh; Travelling in a women’s compartment) Somewhere towards the end each story illuminates the story of Akhila who listens to all other women and tries to apply their views and justifications in comparison to her own life.

As women give more importance to relationships and affiliations, they always give priority to the needs and demands of others and sacrifice their own needs and desires for the sake of their home, merging their own identity in the process. In Ladies Coupe, Akhila is governed by societal pressures and does not live for herself, but for her family and the society, though it means sacrificing her own individual interests. She hails from a humble Tamil Brahmin family. Her father, a government servant, is the only breadwinner of the family, and who has
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