With Specific examples from the film, show different ways in which widows are ostracizes and oppressed. The film depicts widows being oppressed in a number of ways. As soon as a woman’s husband dies she was given three extremely limited and oppressive options; she could marry her husband’s younger brother, she could burn to death alongside her husband’s remains, or she could live in self-denial with other widows.
If they choose life then their hair is shaved off, they must dress in all white saris instead of the vibrant colors of other “clean” women, they are not allowed to wear leery, and they are forced to live a life of solitude in a widow house secluded from the rest of the community. Widows were also shown to suffer much ostracism throughout the film. For example, when Kali accidental bumped into a woman in the marketplace they woman is outraged and yells movie polluted me; I’ll have to bathe again! This is because widows were seen as “unclean” and anything or anyone they came into contact with could contract this uncleanness. Another example of the ostracism of widows is portrayed in a wedding scene when Shantung is nearby and warned not to let her shadow touch the bride. As if even the shadow of a widow could curse a bride and her marriage. 2. List factors of custom, law, religious doctrine and social/ economic factors presented in the film that cause their ostracism When the British colonized India and attempted to reform their social system they outlawed the burning of widows.
This in a way backfired because it caused an increase in the number of widows cast out of their communities and into widow houses. While they may have their lives it will never be the same as it was. So this law only led to increased shunning of these poor husbandly women. A custom hat led to the ostracism of the widows is the shaving of their heads. Losing their hair was seen as a way of desensitizing them and almost making them sub-human. A social factor that aided in the ostracism of widows was their excommunication from society.
People believed that they must be almost quarantined because they were seen as contaminated. If you so much came into contact with an unclean person you would be cursed and maybe your husband would die next. An economic factor that affected the lives of the widows was that after the death of their husbands the family did not want to support these women. So the widows had no money. In order to feed the residents of the widow house the widows would be forced to go out and beg for money, or even prostitute themselves in some situations. This obviously gave them an unwelcome social astigmatism. . According to Meat’s depiction, the widows themselves have internalized their own oppression and ill treatment. Find specific scenes in the film in which this is illustrated and discuss. From the beginning of the film we can see that these women in the widow house have come to accept their fate. When Cauchy asks where all the male widows live live that they deserve this fate but male widows are above such treatment. Throughout the entire movie you see the women conforming to what is expected of them, accepting the taboos of their culture.
Cauchy accepts that she will never return home to her family. Patria has lived her life as a widow without once eating the foods that are forbidden to her until the day she died. Kali accepts the fact that she can never marry Nary, but ends up killing herself in an act of defiance toward her fate as a widow. They all accept their roles in society as outcasts with white saris and shaved heads, and it isn’t until Cauchy comes to live with them that they start to question their fate. 4.
By focusing on different characters, show different possible responses to the Hindu Brahmins widows life of constraint, oppression and poverty, ranging from corruption, to passive acceptance, from questioning the status quo, to defiance. Maida Did copes with her situation through corruption. She pimps out other widows and takes the majority of the benefits for herself. While her fate is not ideal she makes the most out of her won situation at the expense of others. Patria lives with her fate through passively accepting her situation.
She succumbs to oppression and poverty through self-denial. She dreams of the sweets she ate the day of her wedding feast but never allows herself to indulge until Cauchy comes along. Shantung Did is the character whom is the most dynamic of the entire film. When she meets young Cauchy she begins questioning the status quo. This is especially true when she finds out that new laws have been passed in order to better the lives of widows and this fact has been kept from the residents of the widow house. She then acts defiantly by physically freeing Kali so that she may be with Nary.
She is completely transformed by the end of the movie when she frees Cauchy from the constraints of the widow house in hopes that she may live a normal life. Kali has a deep spiritual life from which she can never truly separate herself. Shantung frees her physically from the constraints of the widow house but Island’s character is never able to free herself psychologically. She toys with the idea of defiance but in the end she kills herself rather than transform. Cauchy is a young girl when she comes to the widow house and as such is very adverse to her situation.
She questions the status quo and acts out defiantly because she is not given a suitable answer to why things are the way they are. As the movie progresses she starts to accept her dire situation and this is the catalyst that sets Shantung’s defiance in motion. Nary is a brahmas that is enlightened in the ways of Ghanaian. He is able to not only question the status quo but call upon others to do the same. His actions are not necessarily meant to defy but merely to do what he deems as acceptable/right and in the end help out others who are in a worse situation than himself.