Dimple Dasgupta, the female protagonist, an ordinary woman from the urban Bengali middle class. She attends Calcutta University, hoping that a college degree will enhance her prospects for finding a good husband. Obsessed with her own physical inadequacies, she entertains vivid, unrealistic fantasies about a glamorous lifestyle after marriage. Her arranged marriage to Amit Basu, an engineer bound for America, leaves her disappointed and disillusioned. She resents Amit and his family, and she hates her subservient role, that expected of a Bengali bride. When she becomes pregnant, she expresses her quiet rebellion by inducing an abortion. She and Amit immigrate to New York. After Amit gets a job, she spends most of her time alone in their apartment, watching television, sleeping, or reading magazines. Her excessive exposure to soap operas and violence on television warps her values and distorts her sense of reality. She frequently plunges into moods of depression, fantasizing about different ways of committing suicide or inflicting pain on her husband. Unable to find love in her arranged marriage, she has an affair with Milt Glasser, an all-American boy. Her cultural values are eroded in Milt’s company. Driven by guilt, passion, and revenge, she finally liberates herself by stabbing her husband to death. This act of self-empowerment makes her feel strangely American, like some character in a television show.
(The entire section is 483 words.)