Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni the Disappearance Essay
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find me a quiet, pretty girl, he wrote, not brash, like Calcutta girls are nowadays, not with too many western ideas. Someone who would be relieved to have her husband make the major decisions. But she had to be smart, at least a year of college, someone he could introduce to his friends with pride (Divakaruni).
This quotation shows how superficial and self-absorbed the narrator is. He does not desire an equal, or even someone he is compatible with. He wants a mate who will not oppose him ("quiet"), traditional, and who will not embarrass him in front of his friends due to an inferior intellect. This "pride" the author has referenced is truly the downfall of the narrator, who proves extremely dull-witted for believing if a woman can fulfill those limited requirements denoted in this quotation that she will love him, or stay with him. This quote also proves how dull a person he is if he wants a wife only to fulfill these limited requirements.
The crux of this short story, and the limitations of the protagonist, which are revealed in the author's third-person narrative centered on the protagonist is that he is not even astute enough to recognize the truth about himself. It is one thing to be completely oblivious of the feelings of another -- even someone as close as one's wife. But to be so oblivious that one is not even cognizant of one's own feelings and the effect of one's actions indicates how blissfully ignorant of even himself
the protagonist actually is. As is the theme throughout this short story, this aspect of the narrator's character is once again shrouded in blinding pride, which the following quotation, in which he considers his response to the policeman's inquiry, implies. "He had told the truth about them not having a quarrel, hadn't he? (He prided himself on being an honest man, he often told his son how important it was not to lie, see what happened to Pinocchio's nose)" (Divakaruni). This third-person narration from the perspective of the protagonist demonstrates the fact that he is lying to himself about the quarrel (and possible rape) he had with his wife the last time he saw he. He is so hypocritical in this passage it is difficult not to think the author is being sarcastic in this passage. However, this quotation merely demonstrates how little the protagonist truly knows of himself, let alone of the relationship he has with his wife and son.
This degree of ignorance is largely facilitated by the author's choice of narration -- a third-person voice focused on the protagonist. It allows the reader to see how poorly he treated his wife and how little he was aware of his mistreatment. It allows the reader to see that he is not even fully conscious of the fact that he is lying to himself. And it allows the reader to see how extremely prideful, superficial, dull, and insensitive he is in general.
Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee. "The Disappearance." www.actx.edu 1995. Web. http://www.actx.edu/mldodson/filecabinet/17
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