Women's Images in "Management of Grief" and "A Pair of Tickets"

Essay by mantonukUniversity, Master'sA+, March 1997

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Both Management of Grief and A Pair of Tickets were written by women and about women. Authors were able to portray an image of women which differs from the traditional, stereotypical literary image of feeble and delicate creatures who needed to be cared for. Women in these stories were faced with horrible tragedies, but the determining element in their experience was not so much what happened to them but how they took it.

After reading first few pages of Management of Grief one may see Shaila as 'traditional' Indian woman who due to her upbringing was not even comfortable enough with her own husband: 'I was too much the well brought up woman. I was so well brought up I never felt comfortable calling my husband by his first name' (Mukherjee 537). For a person who grew up in North American society this revelation may seem to come from an oppressed female, but later on in the story we learn that protagonist could stand up for herself and for other women, like in the airport incident.

There again we were reminded of the way she was brought up: 'Once upon a time we were well brought up women; we were dutiful wives who kept our heads veiled, our voices shy and sweet' (543). Only this time the statement is ironic. Shaila's actions show us that she is far from the voiceless, week female she was brought up to be.

Shaila was not responsible for her own heredity. She could not control much of her environment in which she was brought up, but she had the power and internal strength to face the life with her individual rejoinder. She admits to being 'trapped between worlds' (543), and we can feel the internal struggle between 'traditional' and 'rebellious' tendencies. It seems that...