With reference to Bharati Mukherjee's "Jasmine", write on the following topic: Violence and Transformation

Essay by lorensaUniversity, Bachelor's February 2007

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In Bharati Mukherjee's Jasmine, violence is a motif that is dealt with at various levels. Firstly, there is patriarchal violence directed towards women, in which Jasmine is a major receiver. Also, there is the violence that results from political disputes in South Asia, such at the Partition Riots and the rebel movements which affects Jasmine's family. Jasmine herself is also an agent of violence as she kills the mad dog, and more significantly, the man who raped her.

Violence affects Jasmine; it results in a transformation. In Jasmine, violence results in a change in circumstances and mindset. These factors shape one's character and identity. Violence forces Jasmine to change. She regenerates through violence. Each time she goes through violence, she is one step closer to attaining an American identity. Identity, then, is a construct of one's experiences. It is fluid and changes according to one's experiences.

This is exemplified in Jasmine's change in name at each stage of her development. A name is not merely a label; it reflects one's identity as well. She goes from the Indian name "Jyoti", which she was born with, to the Western name "Jasmine" which is given by her husband Prakesh, who plans to study in America. His re-naming of her is akin to re-making her identity as he wanted her to be a modern "city woman" instead of a village girl. His great desire to re-make her identity is emphasized by the fact that he wanted her to "break off from the [feudal] past", which he views with condescension as he feels that the village is backward and refers to the villagers as "ignorant peasants". "Jasmine" is also the name with which she carries out her "mission", which is a significant part...