Friday, 3 May 2013

Women's Lit Poem & Freedom for Jasmine

Little Women's Lit Poem

If Virginia Woolf were water, she would be an ocean--which
one is the deepest? That one. One that harbors movement,
glances through the dim, granular void, to the surface. And
Eve Ensler would be the smoke-rich music in some safe,
underground space where listeners and speakers peer gently
into one another's faces under twinkles of light. On a long
road into another world, Margaret Atwood pedals, practically,
on a symbolic bicycle, passing a cigarette to Gloria Steinem. 

AND... somewhat (mostly) unrelatedly...

"It thrilled me," Jasmine writes of seeing the Hayeses' apartment in Manhattan for the first time. "Sunlight smeared one wall of windows. It spoke to me of possibility, that one could live like this and not be struck down" (160). From the beginning, Taylor and his life represent freedom from the fates of India. Remember her saying, “If we could just get away from India, then all fates would be cancelled,” which made us wonder if they would—or could (85).

Perhaps that is where Mukherjee subtly leads us: freedom.

After she murders Half-Face, Jasmine says, "The pitcher is broken" and that she begins "[her] journey, traveling light" (120, 121). Perhaps this is the turning point, then, even if it is precipitated by horror. Jasmine passes through a portal to the other side (her tongue sliced down the middle), where Lillian Gordon, the Christ figure (if you're up for this sort of literary analogy), offers mercy and resurrection. 

This is Mukherjee's introduction of Lillian: "At that moment, an old white lady came out of the barracks [...] 'How dare you speak to a young lady in such a despicable fashion. She asked for water--well, get her water man!'" Like Jesus, who washed the feet of the unwashed or drew water for the woman at the well (and so on), Lillian has compassion on Jasmine, who has been shamed and abused by America (for all of its promise) until now. 

1 comment:

  1. I really likes this, especially the image of Atwood and Steinem interacting. I could really imagine this bicycle, propelling forward. And the idea of one woman passing a cigarette to the other really touched me. I really like the idea of feminists through the ages interacting and sharing- their ideas, goals, beliefs and in this case, cigarettes. I feel like that is an important thing- the sisterhood.