Indian-American novelist Bharati Mukherjee. The second of three daughters of Sudhir Lal, a chemist, and Bina Banerjee Mukherjee, she lived with nearly 50 relatives until the age of eight, when she discovered the beauty and power of Russian novelists such as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. From an extraordinarily close-knit and intelligent family, Mukherjee and her sisters were always given ample academic opportunities and have all pursued academic endeavors in their careers. InMukherjee's father accepted a job in England, and he brought his family to live there untilproviding Mukherjee an opportunity to develop her English language skills.
Roshni Rustomji-Kerns Classroom Issues and Strategies It is important to read and discuss Mukherjee's "A Wife's Story" as an integral part of twentieth-century American literature and not as an "exotic" short story by a foreign writer.
As the essay accompanying "A Wife's Story" points out, Mukherjee identifies herself very strongly as an American writer writing about twentieth-century Americans.
Although most of her stories are about South Asian-Americans South Asia in the contemporary geopolitical arena usually consists of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldive Islandsshe sees herself as being primarily influenced by, as well as being part of, the tradition of Euro-American writers.
In a brief interview published in the November, issue of San Francisco Focus in which she discusses her novel, The Holder of the World published in after the publication of the second edition of The Heath Anthologyshe says, "I think of myself as an American writer.
I want to focus on the making of the American mind. Keeping in mind Mukherjee's own comments on racism, multiculturalism, and literary influences, it is interesting to discuss how she uses, or does not use, her ideas on these subjects in "A Wife's Story.
Discuss the story as a literary work. Gain some knowledge of the history of Asian-Americans, especially within the context of the different patterns of immigration in the U.
This is often a suitable time to discuss, compare, and contrast the styles and techniques of oral and written literature. I have sometimes invited South Asian women from the community to speak to us of their experiences in the United States with an emphasis on how they would communicate their experiences to a larger audience.
For example, we ask the guest speakers about the kind of stories they would like to write for a book or for a TV show that deals with South Asian-Americans. Further discussions of the story, especially on specific issues related to Mukherjee's major themes and the literary influences that emerge out of her root culture, may be based on the statements made in the following parts of this Instructor's Guide essay.
Major Themes, Historical Perspectives, and Personal Issues Mukherjee's earlier works dealt mainly with encounters between cultures that take place when her South Asian-American protagonists who live in Canada or the U.
Her later, and maybe more important works, deal with these encounters as they take place in America. The protagonists in her later works are not all from South Asia, but nearly all of them are people who have arrived in America during this century.
It also takes place across historical time. The framework of the novel takes place in contemporary United States and India. The central story takes place in seventeenth-century America and India. The Euro-American women protagonists of this work have lovers who are from other cultures or countries.
A significant number of her stories and novels present the encounters between cultures in the context of encounters between women and men either of different root cultures or from the same root culture. Some of these very personal encounters have the poignancy of underlying affection, some of them range from gentle humor to an attempt at broad satire, some are marred by stereotypical characters and events, while others reveal the dangerous, violent side of such encounters.
It is a fascinating story because it presents the surprise of role reversal and because of the sense of a dramatic presentation that permeates the story. It is the wife, not the husband, who has come to America and who is knowledgeable about this new home. Panna is the guide and often the protector for her husband who is visiting her.
And her story is constantly dramatic. It begins with her in a theatre and every episode that follows is carefully situated in a stage-like setting with set actors.
The story also contains echoes of the memory and nostalgia for the past that play a significant role in the writings of many South Asian-Americans. This memory and nostalgia for the landscape of places and people of the writers' childhood is often juxtaposed with the excitement and challenge of their new life and the unfamiliar landscape of the people and places of the U.
It is interesting to explore how Mukherjee uses these two strands in this story, bringing one or the other--memory or the excitement of novelty--into the foreground to present her characters and to build the circular, winding pattern of her story.
Significant Form, Style, or Artistic Conventions Much as Mukherjee seems to insist that she belongs to the Euro-American traditions of American literature and as easily as she is able to be fit into that tradition, there are aspects of her work that are derived mainly from her cultural roots in India.
She has spoken of the important influences in her life of the images and ideas of her childhood in India and the sounds and sights of the great traditions of Indian mythology and literature.
Her awareness of these influences enriches her stories and novels. For example, she can give the impression of a larger work even in a short story such as "A Wife's Story," which carefully meanders from one place to another and in which stories live within other stories.
This technique of winding stories and embedding stories within stories dominates the Sanskrit epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, and much of Indian literature.
Her ability to let us hear her characters speak to us not only about themselves but as narrators of others' experiences is a reflection of the oral traditions of Indian literature.
In "A Wife's Story," we can hear Panna telling us not only the many stories of her life in India and in New York but also the stories of the people she introduces to us.
Bharati Mukherjee is an enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable collector of Indian miniatures. Keeping in mind this interest in miniatures, we see that Mukherjee can also paint small-scale yet detailed episodes and characters.
Mukherjee's careful manipulation of moods and emotional tones in her stories may be influenced by classical Indian literature, art, and music.
In Indian classical art, the universally recognizable essence of an emotion or a mood often dominates the work of art. In "A Wife's Story," Mukherjee portrays Panna through her emotions and moods that move from anger and outrage to perplexity and frustration, to humor and affection, and in the end to the joy of self-discovery of her body and her sense of freedom.
Even the memory of old customs, and the excitement of new discoveries for both Panna and her husband are presented in terms of emotions and moods.Bharati Mukherjee Writing Styles in Jasmine Bharati Mukherjee This Study Guide consists of approximately 88 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Jasmine.
Bharati Mukherjee (b, or use the style and the different writing styles and techniques that is used by bharati mukherjee subject the different writing styles and techniques that is used by bharati mukherjee matter of the oral history/interviews and contrast the styles and techniques of oral and written.
Two Ways to Belong in America About her Writing Two Ways to Belong in America: SOAPSTone Analysis Style The END About the Author: Bharati Mukherjee Date of Birth: July 27, By Bharati Mukherjee Where: Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India Life story overview: Mukherjee was born to .
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