The Gift Of A Bride

1346 WordsDec 8, 20156 Pages
This joint family, like any social organization, must face problems such as acceptable division of work, relationships and specific family roles. These familial relationships are managed on the basis of a secular hierarchical principle. In fact, all Indians owe respect and obedience to the head of the family, who usually is the father or the oldest man of the family community. In The Gift of a Bride: A Tale of Anthropology, Matrimony and Murder by Nanda and Gregg, it is explained that, “females [are] placed under the perpetual guardianship of first their fathers and elder brothers, then their husbands.” (Nanda & Gregg 22) Thus, all the spending decisions, studies and profession, or marriage, are exclusively the responsibility of the father after the possible discussions with the other men of the family. Age and sex are the basic principles of this hierarchical system. The eldest sons enjoy greater unchallenged authority than their cadets. Of course men have more authority than women, but older married women have an important role within the family. In fact, the authority of a woman depends on the rank of her husband inside the group. Traditionally, the wife of the patriarch rules over domestic affairs and has considerable power over the other women in the community, especially her daughters- in-law. In the social hierarchy of her new family, the bride usually holds one of the lowest ranks. She owes obedience and submission to all her predecessors, especially her stepmother.

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