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Family Roles

The materialistic civilization, the industrial and internet revolutions have done much to destroy the nuclear family system. Migration of the rural population to the metropolitan cities is the other important factor for the growth of more independent families. The perspectives of the combustible younger generation have changed. They face a competitive world and to improve and better prospectus, is their main concern. The values of women have changed for the better. They are no more willing to face the situation of subjugation to the parental authority, and once married they like to be independent.

The girl-child of the modern generation is career-oriented. She would not like to be dominated by her male-counterpart in her professional environment or in the personal life. Whether or not the nuclear family is good in comparison to the more independent family is a debatable issue. But the trend towards the more independent family has caught up fast, and perhaps it will gather speed. Gone are the days when a girl-child is victimized at every step of life. Independent family relates to the transformation of the society from idealism to realism, thereby making women the social, spiritual and legal equals of men.

“A Doll’s House” ‘built’ by Henrik Isben in the 1890s is no ordinary house. It is the real life drama converted into a play! “Husband and wife should live as equals, free to become their own human beings. ”—this is not a statement of the President or Secretary of the women liberation movement of the 21s century, but Ibsen proclaiming in his drama, A Doll’s House. He was promptly criticized for his views and for failing to respect the institution of marriage. But Isben persisted with his views. The ivory-tower idealism was absent in his writing and he believed in hard realism.

His concern for women’s rights is seen in this drama. When he began to tackle individual question of subconscious and psychological nature, that genre led to cracks in social structure and breakup of the nuclear family. Isben might not have attacked the nuclear family system directly, but equal and more rights for women can well fit into the environment of more independent family. It is difficult for independent thinking families, rather two independent thinking women to live together! Isben portrays daring and highly progressive ideas concerning women.

He “paints a bleak picture of the sacrificial role held by women of all economic classes in his society. In general, the play’s female characters exemplify Nora’s assertion (spoken to Torvald in Act Three) that even though men refuse to sacrifice their integrity, “hundreds of thousands of women have. ” In order to support her mother and two brothers, Mrs. Linde found it necessary to abandon Krogstad, her true—but penniless—love, and marry a richer man. The nanny had to abandon her own child to support herself by working as Nora’s (and then as Nora’s children’s) caretaker.

As she tells Nora, the nanny considers herself lucky to have found the job, since she was “a poor girl who’d been led astray. ” (Spark… )Though written 120 years ago, the subject matter of the play is relevant to the present society. One has, perhaps, never heard a discussion or symposium on the topic,” Men—their role in the society. ” Such discussions are always about women. Men, perhaps have no role! Men can as well do the jobs normally done by women! The best chefs in the present time are men! This was the issue that bothered Nora as well.

Is it not degrading for a woman to live like a stranger and bear him children? Is she a mere plaything, a doll? Her revolutionary message was simple and direct: Only perfect freedom and communion make a true bond between a woman and a man. Women should be liberated from the bondage of duty. –It is such thinking that the sprout of nuclear family began to disintegrate and the more independent family began to sprout, grew in to a sapling, and in the present era, it is a giant tree! More than one reason can be cited as to how family roles have changed from Nuclear Gamily to more independent family.

The concept of freedom affects an individual in many ways. “Bread Givers” by Anzia Yezierska, a Polish immigrant, a Jewish female, is one such story, deeply concerned with the plight of girl-children. Sarah is the narrator of the story and the family consists of her three sisters, mother and the utterly religious, aged father. Except the father, everybody works. The perspective of life of each one of them is different. In front of her father she is obedient, she has to, but once he is out of sight, she rather hates him.

She wishes to live in style in spite of the dire economic straights of the family. How Anzia describes one of the sisters, the lively Mashah, “Everywhere Mashah went, men followed her with melting looks. And these melting looks in men’s eyes were like something to eat and something to drink to her. So that she could go without her lunch money to buy pretty things for her, and not starve like the rest of us. ”(Yezieska, p, 4) This is the story of the fight against the suppression of women in the society. The young woman wishes to free herself from the fetters of the traditional female role.

In this story of the 1920s, her father has married of his sisters, in dire circumstances, as a matter of duty. Sarah has doubts whether their marriage will succeed. She is not willing to join the mess called marriage, when one partner, especially the girl doesn’t want it. She wishes to be a self-made individual and therefore she considers all honest work is equal. Thus begins the fight of women in “Bread Lovers. ” She protests when her father plans to marry her off to a man whom she does not love—he had done so in the past with her other sisters—and quits the house at the tender age of seventeen.

Anzia has tough themes to tackle to in the novel, and they all veer round to the one important issue, feminist discontent and awakening sexuality. How to protect the sensibilities of a woman in the family set up! This novel reads like one’s own experience from the point of independence-seeking woman. The father-daughter relationship in a closed family is an age-old issue, where the woman mostly talks about her problems with the four walls! Sarah has to confront her father so often and the beauty of such conflicts is that she is not afraid of her stand on the issues.

She is a feminist coming-out of age. When she feels that it is enough, she walks out of the house to seek her independence. The pages of human history, daubed in the tears of girl-child and women, asks the crying question. How to make the family life cheerful and happy? The answer is simple and direct. Eyes full of understanding, hearts full of love and the life that refuses conflicts-enough, these alone are enough! Whether her plight is due to the restrictions imposed upon her in the nuclear family system?

Whether the more independent family will bring her all the happiness? What does the concept of more independent family mean? If the answer to the second alternative is in the affirmative, why the violence against women still continues? Rather, why it is on the increase? The incidents of atrocities against women reported in the print and electronic media tell us about the prevailing grim conditions. With more independent family becoming popular, especially in the cities, the economic conditions of women have improved.

Awareness amongst the women has increased, but what is the positive outcome of this awareness? Has the society as a whole stands benefited? “What is a stake is not economics, but culture; not the standard of living but the quality of life. Economics and the standard of living can just as well be looked after by a capitalist system, moderated by a bit of planning and redistributive taxation. But culture and, generally, the quality of life, can now only are debased by such a system. ”(Schumacher, p, 243) To achieve the state of happiness is the goal of any type of family.

Whether it is the joint family, nuclear family or the more independent family, the desired result is freedom and happiness to the individuals concerned. The process of breaking should lead to the process of building! The process of conflicts in the family should lead to peace. Rabindranath Tagore, visualizes such a stage as he describes, “As the storm still seeks its end in peace when it strikes against peace with all its might, even thus my rebellion strikes against thy love and still its cry—I want thee, only thee.

”(Tagore, p, 80) How ideal the situation would be in a family if all the members strive for such a state of living! Conclusion: The greatest bane of our social life is inequality. This coupled with poverty and unemployment makes the life of women, a mess. From the secular point view, joint family, nuclear family and the more independent family– all become problems, because the root cause lies elsewhere. By spraying the insecticides, one kills the mosquitoes.

But the solution lies in removing the filth that breeds the mosquitoes. Similarly, one needs to go to the root causes of the problems of women. Swami Vivekananda talks about such a solution: According to him, “…our right of interference is limited entirely to giving education. Women must be put in a position to solve their own problems in their own ways. No one can or ought to do this for them. ”(Majumdar, p, 403) Women will have to find solutions for making women equal to men in the social, spiritual and economic levels.

Therefore, whether she likes the nuclear family or a more independent family is mostly her concern. References Cited: 1. Anzia,Yezierska: Bread Givers, Persea Books, 1999. 2. Schumacher, E. F. Small is Beautiful, Radha Krishna, 1977 3. Tagore, Rabindranath, Gitanjali, Macmillan & Co. 1962 4. Majumdar, R. C. Swami Vivekananda Centenary Memorial Volume, Swami Vivekananda Centenary, 1963 5. Spark Notes: A Doll’s House, Home: English: Literature Study Guides www. sparknotes. com/lit/dollhouse – Cached, Retrieved on May 29, 2008

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