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Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Works and Feminism Annotated Bibliography

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Updated: Oct 12th, 2021

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a woman who has written literary works that show her strength and character. These works also show her inclinations and passion for the plight of women. She has been a staunch supporter of women and has worked with different Afghani women refugees as well as those with dysfunctional families (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni).

The woman’s role is depicted ever so poignantly in the works of Divakaruni and this also reflects the importance of reclaiming the understanding of the role of women in society. The themes of feminism and culture are seen in most of her works. For instance in her work “Sister of My Heart” and “Mistress of Spices” the culture of Calcutta was highlighted and showcased. Not only that, the stories describe strict upbringing especially the ones concerning Sudha and Anju.

These two are well-guarded and not allowed to go around unaccompanied. Their mothers are also obliged to bring them up in the old values and standards that they themselves learned as they were growing up. But these women find themselves wanting to break away from these traditional standards (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni). But intrinsic in the practices is the fact that the widowed older women wield their own kind of power in the household. Since no one would be ordering them around, these widowed women are able to assert themselves in the process.

In a way, these older women hold the power within the home. When given the proper setting, they are able to decide on major things now that their husbands no longer run family matters. In a way, some of the works of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni show how widowhood has given women a power they have never anticipated at all (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni).

Meanwhile, another of her work, The Palace of Illusions, takes readers back to a time where people have to decipher the myth and the history in it. Princess Panchaali’s life is full of color as she interrelates with her mother-in-law, her friendship with Krishna as well as the secret attraction she feels for the enemy of her husband. Readers see here a different kind of aggressiveness exhibited by Princess Panchaali that is more like that of a warrior’s courage. (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni).

For a long time, women had been subservient to men. The pressure on women to acquiesce to the wishes of the husbands is central to this gathering. This was the context with which Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni wrote her works. In all her works, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni highlights India’s rich culture as well as the strength of the women. Her poems were evolving into narratives and they were actually becoming more like short stories in verse form. So, as she explored the different ways of saying her piece and being relevant to the times that called for courage, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni ventured into other venues of expressing her ideas. Most of the characters in her stories exude values in different spiritual areas.

The Palace of Illusions highlights one woman’s life that becomes a tool that changes the lives of many people in ancient India. It also looks into a woman’s love and passion and how she triumphs and hurdles the different challenges. Women’s rights then dared to challenge the status quo.

Chitra’s newest book of stories incorporates tales in India and America where she elucidates on the different changes in an individual which happen because of the different choices they make at certain points in their lives. She is able to vividly depict the way a man would readily make fun of women and this is clearly seen in her story The Unknown Errors of Our Lives where Biren laughs and makes fun at the female character in the story as written here:

“In response, Biren would laugh his silent laugh, which began at the upturned outer edges of his eyes and rippled through him like wind on water. He was the only person she knew who laughed like that, soundlessly, offering his whole body to the act. It made her heart feel like a popcorn popper where all the kernels have burst into neon yellow. She’d respond with a small smile, the kind she hoped made her appear alluring and secretive, but inside she’d be weak with gratitude that he found her so funny.”

Ruchira in the story is able to improve herself in the process as she had started to take up and study painting. She is too shy to tell anyone about it and it is again at this point where we see how women are shut off from the rest of society and relegated to the home. In fact, Ruchira even considers that the act of painting is the first daring thing she is able to undertake in her life. She went from frustration after frustration in order to be able to do what she had always wanted but she still fell short of the ideal.

Even if her grandmother was no longer present in the story, the mere references to her already allude to a strong woman who built the self-confidence of the people around her. Even the other stories depict women who always edified and consoled one another as is seen in another story called “Love of a Good Man.” Indeed, in the final analysis, the women in the author’s stories triumphed above the difficulties of their time. Over the long haul, women exhibited receptivity and resiliency to their circumstances as they remained open to ideas and innovation, transforming them into the strong women that they are known for.

Works Cited

Chitra Banerjee, Divakaruni The encounters of Bhartiya womanhood and Uncle Sam.

Our Lady in America. India Today. Web.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Web.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Web.

Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee. 2008 at: Kuldip Kahur Kuwahara. Arranged Marriage by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. 1995, 307 pages. Available from Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. 1540 Broadway, 10036 New York. Journal of American Studies of Turkey. 7 (1998) : 95-96. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021, October 12). Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Works and Feminism. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/chitra-banerjee-divakarunis-works-and-feminism/

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"Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Works and Feminism." IvyPanda, 12 Oct. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/chitra-banerjee-divakarunis-works-and-feminism/.

1. IvyPanda. "Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Works and Feminism." October 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/chitra-banerjee-divakarunis-works-and-feminism/.


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IvyPanda. "Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Works and Feminism." October 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/chitra-banerjee-divakarunis-works-and-feminism/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Works and Feminism." October 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/chitra-banerjee-divakarunis-works-and-feminism/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Works and Feminism'. 12 October.

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