Cultural Roles In Literature

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Popular cultural texts have existed as significant sites of interrogation, deriving meaning and relevance in relation to the changing codes and strictures of dominant societal mechanisms and systems. Cultural products provide useful insights regarding the interplay of a wide range of ideas, attitudes and values constituting the ideological framework of society. The complex connotations associated with gendered existence have always informed the production and consumption of popular works of literature and offered newer ways of perceiving and understanding the functioning of power relations within society. The present paper tries to analyse the extent to which popular fiction in India attempts to reflect the complex associations related to gender…show more content…
Theoreticians such as Naomi Wolf have tried to uphold the need for women to initiate change by recognising their own power, rights and authority instead of remaining conditioned to a notion of perpetual helplessness and oppression at the hands of the male. In her seminal work Fire With Fire she elaborates upon the need for re-fashioning female identities by urging women to refrain from identifying themselves as mere victims who are incapable and weak. She expresses her faith in women’s ability to come out of the perennial image of the ‘wronged’ and to start recognising their innate potential for positive action. She holds that women should be ready to seize upon the opportunities available for self-expression and emerge as competent individuals who enthusiastically pursue their dreams and aspirations. She also maintains that the very status and position of the woman within contemporary times has undergone a paradigm shift, signaling a marked deviation from conceptions about femininity that existed in the past years of feminist activism. The observation that she makes at the very beginning of this acclaimed work very well indicates her awareness of the significant transformations taking place within the field of women’s political participation. She says: “The 1980s were the height of the backlash years, but from the autumn of 1991 to the present, a new era has begun- the era of the ‘genderquake’, in which the meaning of being a woman is changed for ever” (Fire With Fire). She also clearly distinguishes between two versions of feminism, namely ‘victim’ feminism and ‘power’ feminism, strongly advocating the latter as the most agreeable and gratifying approach that can evolve in the present circumstances. She argues against some of the dominant assumptions about female

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