Marriage Happiness for Women
Marriage is sacred and a blessed union between two people. However, it could be faced with some challenges that are evident depending on the period. Today, the fight for gender equality has changed the view of workout for women, as it has created open-mindedness. This paper presents a review of two short stories A Thousand Splendid Suns and the Interpreter of Maladies while comparing the different conditions experienced in each period while identifying difference.
Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies revolves the vacation of the Das family in India and their tour guide, Mr. Kapasi. The short story highlights the plight of the women in this period, their roles, and the perception by men and society. Mr. and Mrs. Das appear to have a strained marriage because there is poor communication. Mr. Kapasi notices the tension between the couple but his mind is set on Mrs. Das, who he is drawn to romantically. Women are viewed as the caretakers of the children. When they arrived at the mall, Tina (their daughter) wanted to use the washroom but Mr. Das declined to go with her. Instead, he insisted that the wife should take her, which she did. The author notes, “Mr. and Mrs. Das bickered about who should take Tina to the toilet” (Lahiri, 1999, 29; para 1).
Unlike the period when this story was written, marriages today do not have defined roles based on gender. In fact, both the husband and the wife can assume any role in the household because the modern woman is working and outgoing. Unlike the situation between Mr. and Mrs. Das, women have an opinion that they are willing to share as opposed to taking orders from their husbands without any alternatives. Though it does not always work in their favor, it has presented an opportunity for women to be treated equally. The discussion on gender equality focuses on the female gender exercising equal rights to the male gender.
Mr. Kapasi observes the Das family and their marriage and wonders if they are suffering the consequences of an arranged marriage. His relationship with his wife did not stand the test of time because they did not have anything in common. He notes some strange behavior between Mr. and Mrs. Das. For example, Mr. Das calls the wife by her first name while talking to his daughter. He says, “Where’s Mina?” (Lahiri, 1999, 30; para 2). Also, when Mr. Kapasi told the Das family that he worked as an interpreter, Mrs. Das noted that it sounded romantic. He wondered why Mrs. Das was using the word romantic when referring to him but did behave in a romantic way towards her husband. He wondered if Mr. and Mrs. Das were a bad match, just as he and his wife were (Lahiri, 1999, 33; para 4). He had noticed the Das’s bickered a lot, were indifferent, and did not communicate well. The mismatch between the couple was an attribute of an arranged marriage, which left no options for the couple to have similar hobbies or a common understanding.
In today’s society, men and women have the authority to choose their spouses. A marriage is a mutual agreement between both parties as opposed to a preference of their parents of the society. Choosing one's partner is essential towards a fruitful and happy marriage because both spouses have a common understanding, are interested in similar things, and can mingle without feeling indifferent. Indeed, a couple has the opportunity of going out on several occasions for a preferred length of time to know each other and test their compatibility. Dating is a chance for the couple to know and understand each other. Besides, they have a choice to end the relationship if they are not compatible. Today's marriages portray people who know each other, can communicate, and are attracted to each other as opposed to arranged marriages. It is important to choose one's spouse because marriage should a happy union that lasts forever.
In the era of the author’s narration, men view women as sex objects. Mr. Kapasi was intrigued by Mrs. Das’s reference to his job as romantic. In fact, he momentary looked at her staring at her breasts because he was interested in her outward beauty and sexual appeal. "In addition to glancing at her face he glanced at the strawberry between her breasts, and the golden brown hollow in her throat" (Lahiri, 1999, 34; para 1). His interest in Mrs. Das grew as he gazed at her beautiful body. He kept the conversation going between them to keep her focused on the exciting parts of his jobs. Besides, she was interested in hearing the details of what he had managed to do for his clients. Mr. Kapasi was uncomfortable around the Das family when they had a stopover for lunch because he had been fantasizing sexually with Mrs. Das. Despite Mrs. Das's interest in the job and experiences of Mr. Kapasi, his focus was on her body and her sexual appeal. Men in this era viewed a woman as a mere sex object, which explains his sexual fantasies as he was talking to Mrs. Das.
Currently, the notion of women being viewed as sex objects has not been ruled out completely. Though the value of women has risen because of their intellectual capability, there are still some perceptions of women being associated with the sexual urge. The difference is that they have more to offer than sex. In an era where women can attend school, compete at the same intellectual level as men, and earn leadership positions in male-dominated industries, it indicates there is a huge change in the perception of women as mere sex objects. The society must embrace the professional woman as a contributor to economic growth as opposed to pure sex appeal.
In the short story, Mrs. Das opens up to Mr. Kapasi about her infidelity that resulted in the birth of their last-born son. His opinion of Mrs. Das changes drastically, and he is no longer interested in her sexually. “Mr. Kapasi felt insulted” (Lahiri, 1999, 39; para 7). He disregarded Mrs. Das because of her extramarital affair, which was a reflection of the perception men had about women. Just moments before the revelation he had desired Mrs. Das, who is a married woman, but was judgmental about her part extramarital affair.
Similarly, most men are against women who have extramarital affairs today. However, they would like women to accept and forgive them if they make the same mistakes. Indeed, the rate of divorce has been on the increase because of extra-marital affairs. However, women have gained independence and had the mandate to separate and leave their husbands if they can prove infidelity. Today, the issue of gender equality has played a crucial role in ensuring that women are treated fairly and can leave a marriage that they do not feel content.
In the sequence of events, A Thousand Splendid Suns, is based on the early 1960s to 2000 in Afghanistan. Life for women the Middle East was difficult especially Afghanistan. Many of the women were at the mercy of their husbands because the society had not recognized their position in the family. Another essential point, women would not formulate important decisions about their lives and family and had to rely on their husbands. In this novel, the inner power of a woman is the prevailing theme. Addtionally, Laila and Mariam have been forced into such situations in life that challenge their ability to endure and strength. Subsequently, Mariam is brought to the world that turns its back to women hence depriving them of their joy. Most of these women do not have the right to choose their future partners. Mariam was forced into marriage with an abusive, cruel man, and endures it for twenty-seven years. However, after meeting Laila, she understands that marriage is about love. Mariam opens up to the new information that people can love each other, and she bound up with Laila.
In the end, the greatest strength will allow her to face the sacrifice her life and save her loved ones. On the other hand, Laila is raised from a privileged kin and her parents constantly shower her with love. It is significant to understand that her father believes that she deserves a life of love and value. In the novel, Laila suffers her mother’s love setback while she grieves for her brothers. Apparently, women in the society are not valued as men since their deaths mean more to the family. A lady must not get pregnant out of wedlock because it would bring shame to the family. Here, Laila gets pregnant with another person’s child and marries Rasheed to protect the unborn child. She endures abuse from her husband and regular fights that make her lose nearly her life. Enduring is the only a single skill should a girl like you learn (Hosseini, 2007, 12: par 5).
The power of humans to carry out evil is another major theme in the novel. Mariam’s mother believes that when a man points his finger to a woman it reinforces how the several factions will strive to control the country even when innocent people die. Consequently, when the Soviets run and invade roughshod over everyone's rights that influence many women. During the war, women mostly suffered because they were raped and murdered since they are the inevitable outcomes. Even after the Mujahideen became victorious, women suffered since the rockets exploded in their houses and killed them with their children. Women have drawn closer and need to be supported when educating others who do not know their rights. However, the Taliban had wiped their individuality, denied them of health care through closing of hospitals and promise to punish them when breaking the laws. Women have tried to rebel, and some have lost their lives in the process. More importantly, they leave with a step that propels women to their victory. An aggrieved woman somewhere in the globe headed each snowflake (Hosseini, 2007, 52: par 7). These showed the struggle the women went through while they depended on the husband for basic needs. They did not have the right to work and mostly slept at home like Mariam.
The inequity of women is reinforced by the cruelty of men. Equally significant, women are not free even when the government offers democracy because the Koran allows men to control their wives. Therefore, it makes is hard for a woman to make valid and critical choice that can make the marriage better. The decisions that are made in the relationship only depend on the happiness of the man. The happiness of the woman in a marriage is essential because they hold the family together. For example, Rasheed believes that modern women must wear burqa even though it is not their choice. Furthermore, he thinks that it is right for men to beat and kill women in the name of honor.
Here, women have been enslaved with the religion making it for men to command them around. Arguably, men and women have held the same position in the society but it is difficult for them to be independent. The Koran has not made it easy for women to socialize in the community since men can deny them their fundamental rights. However, through Laila’s Babi, one believes the society cannot flourish when women are suppressed. It is the time for women to stand for their rights as the world continues to evolve. Some women are being given the duty to make a small decision based on the household. It is for the reason that men have been educated and understand the significance of women in the society. Most men have tried to share the burden with their wives because of the harsh economic times. Religion kept women in the dark because they believed that God did not give them the authority. As time progressed, women begun to question the responsibility of the family since they played a significant role in ensuring the family was stable. Men were seen as breadwinners of the families, but women have started to play that role. You want me to request permission from your mother (Hosseini, 2007, 11: par 5).
Another theme that shows the liberation of women is devotion and loyalty. Most of the women characters in the novel understand the price and heartache of such emotion even when they feel it for those who are close to them. For instance, Mariam continues to love her father, Jalil, despite forcing her to be married to Rasheed. For the most part, women became too trustworthy and devoted to their family members making it tough for them to move on with their life. Their scars hide their sadness and alienation from the society. With time, women have the mandate to take care of themselves and fight the society to be given their fundamental rights. The loyalty between women in life gives them the power to demand their freedom because unity is power. The unity among women has given them support during these hard times. In the past, women were afraid to defend their rights and mostly relied on the voice of their father, brother, or husband. It was a challenge for women to question the decision of men since the Koran had given them the mandate.
The basics to a happy marriage are communication, love, financial stability, sexual satisfaction, and equality in decision-making. Women are the sensitive gender and are more emotionally attached to their families. As a result, a woman will be willing to go to great heights to keep her family together. Appreciation by her husband is necessary for her to remain strong and keep the family together. The comparison between the period presented in these two novels and current period indicates growth in women appreciation. Over the years, the advancements in the issue of gender equality have played a crucial role in the marriages that survive. Women are happier when they feel respected and loved in their marriages. Hence, happiness is fundamental to any long-lasting marriage.