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A Wifes Story by Bharati Mukherjee - Book Report/Review Example

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A Wifes Story by Bharati Mukherjee

The Indian quality of Panna's body is described with reference to the women of her family: "My mother was beaten by her mother-in-law, my grandmother, when she'd registered for French lessons at the Alliance Franaise. My grandmother, the eldest daughter of a rich zamindar, was illiterate." The three generations move further and further from Indian tradition: from illiteracy, to learning French, to taking a PhD; from the countryside, to the city, to America. Perhaps the implied reason for the beating is the mother-in-law's fear that her son's wife was seeking out partners for adultery. In any case Panna is committing adultery with the Hungarian migr Imre while she studies in New York. So her body is, as much as anything else, the agency of her change.
Panma's husband visits her in America and is desperate to take her back to India, because he fears she may be drawn into adultery (though he never suspects Imre to whom he is introduced). Her realization (rather than resolution) that she will not return with him, is her break with Indian culture. ...Show more

Summary

The main theme of Mukherjee's short story, "A Wife's Story," is the cultural transformation of the main character, Panna. She is an Indian woman who comes from a very traditional background whose life is being transformed by her assimilation into Western Culture…
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