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Volume 1 Issue 7

December 2014

From Innocence to Experience: Jaya in Shashi Deshpande’s That Long Silence
Ms. Divya Nair, 
Researcher, 
Department of English, 
Bharathiar University, 
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
Abstract
Shashi Deshpande’s That Long Silence (1988) presents a realistic image of educated middle-class women. The novel gains authenticity from the fact that Jaya, the protagonist, is a well-read woman, blessed with literary sensibility though nurtured in silence which corresponds with her fictional role.She is unable to find out whether she lives for herself or for her family. She is taken for granted by everyone in the family and so feels that she has no identity of her own. She is a typical wife with love and affection for her children, respect and sense of duty for husband and her in-laws but in return nobody in her family understands her feelings and emotions. Her silence is symbolic of most of the women of the world who are unable to express themselves as individual. Her introspection and memories are a part of every woman's life and like every other woman she is not encouraged to take up a profession. After seventeen years of troubled life in silence, Jaya pens her story revealing her feelings, incidents of ups and downs that caused her despair and disappointment, and endangered her marital life. The writer brings an unexpected turn in the plot at the end of the novel. Shashi Deshpande probably wants us to draw the inference from Jaya: women should accept their own responsibility for what they are, see how much they have contributed to their own victimization, instead of putting the blame on everybody except themselves.
Keywords
Feminism; Self-Assertion; Innocence; Experience; Shashi Deshpande; That Long Silence
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Progressive Publishers is a novice publishing enterprise located at Tranquebar, Tamilnadu, India. It primarily publishes university text-books for efficient English language learning and an online scholarly journal entitled Literary Quest. Its primary goal is to promote progressive, secular, socialist and egalitarian thoughts among academicians, researchers and students of English literature. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Social Justice are the ideals upon which the whole enterprise rests.