The three short stories, Slave Mother, When I was in Xia Village, and Hands, have women protagonists who live a wretched life imparted to them either by the male-dominated or by the class-ridden society…
But the common element that unites these stories is the way in which the female leading characters in these three stories show a will to survive in the face of adversities. All the three stories show subdued victims who are not much able to fight against the injustices they suffer from. But they neither succumb to them. The message that is passed over to the reader is that not only a fighter but even a survivor is a hero. And these tales throw light upon the ability of this gender group to impart love and service to others even when they are dehumanized to great extents. When looked upon this way, these stories can be considered to be alternative feminist narratives.
The short story, ‘Slave’s Mother’, is about the fate of a woman who got pledged to a stranger by her own husband in the name of poverty. This is also about the agonies of this mother who had to experience the pain of parting with her little sons twice . Underlying these parallel narratives of human tragedy, are the concerns of gender, womanhood, and victimization that give this tale a feminist edge. In contrast to the glorification of motherhood practiced by main stream narratives, this story has something else to tell. It is all about how the entire body and self of a woman is transformed into a machine for giving birth, by the male-dominated society. ...
There are also intriguing but very real (anti)women characters in this story, who adds on to the oppression of the female protagonist. The three women in this story are representative of the three faces of the same reality- a gender politics that puts women in the role of the victim as well as the perpetrator. The nameless woman who gets pledged by her husband to another man, the broker woman, Mrs. Shen, who arranges this pledging, and the first wife to the man who pays the money to get a temporary wife, are these three women characters in this short story3. None of them is having a gender perspective. They are just survivors in the margins of a male-governed system. And they never develop a sisterhood among them even though the female protagonist and the ‘first wife’ have all reasons to do so. The first wife is forced to accept a second wife for her husband just because she could not give birth to a child.4 Hence, she and the second wife are victims of the same problem- a man’s selfish desire to have a male child even at the cost of hurting the women who give birth to it. But the first wife never feels any real bonding with the second one.5 It seems, the author has intentionally abstained from giving the name of the pledged woman (whom we will call the ‘mother’ from now onwards) a name, as in this story, she is never allowed by the society to have an identity of her own6. Her name does not matter. The only thing that matters is that she is a worthwhile commodity for sale. This becomes more evident when it is stated that, she is preferred by the hiring man just because she has a greater possibility of giving birth again as she has delivered more than one child before as well. 7 The name of ...
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, is a great article written by Renata Forste, PhD, and John P. Hoffmann,Phd. The article was retrieved from Helene Fuld’s research data base. After going to the online learning center, and typing in “single mother research” the article was found. The research question that required search of the article is, “Are US mothers meeting breastfeeding targets and how is does it differ with single mothers”?
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