daughter. Even after laboring persistently for them and whittling down all her hopes, her presence remains unacknowledged. But one day the gulf between her and her daughter is bridgedwhen the daughter serendipitously encounters puberty and the neglected mother provides thenecessary comfort and assurance.
The protagonist says “They…talk of many things, ignoring me…An outsider in my own home.
Have they locked me out
or have I locked myself in? They look at me, without seeing me.”
Looking at the story from a different perspective one can say that even though the mother is not
“seen” as she wants to be seen, is
represented as passive and withdrawn, she is not wholly a sorryfigure and neither is she fulfilling the demands of the stereotypical notion of a mother or a wifeor a woman. The story depicts a mother being human and not as a mother is supposed to be as per the society. She has desires, is lacking in capabilities, is passive but has authority too. A blend of good and bad, she is represented as an ordinary person. She is authoritative with theservant, passive with the husband and helpless with the daughter. On the one hand where one can
say that she is unable to cope up with her daughter’
s generation, feels isolated, and is unwillingto change the set rules and duties of a wife towards her husband; one can complicate the issue bysaying that by simply bein
g “incapable” as a woman, by
not being goddess- like and just amother and
by not satisfying the husband’s needs as
a wife, she is unknowingly liberating herself from the set norms for a woman. She is an alienated figure in the family just because she isu
nable to live up to the family’s expectations. But problematizing the issue
one can analyze thissituation as the mother carving a niche for herself, and trying to frame her own identity.Deshpande represents her protagonist not as an epitome of fulfilling every role but a person whohas flaws. Not letting a mother figure be flawless, she is deliberately represented as
person and is much appreciated.
The daughter in the end clasps the mother’s hand and sleeps.