Examine the twin theme of  dislocation and sense of loss in Ice- Candy Man.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Dislocation and loss are twin themes that work on different levels in Cracking India or Ice- Candy Man.  The most evident level is the political one. Partition was a moment in India history where dislocation and loss were intrinsic to its very being.  The subcontinent that was once whole and intact was "cracked" along the most arbitrary of lines by men in the position of power that had little regard for the millions of lives that were lost in the process.  Dislocation and loss was evident in the story's setting of Lahore, where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Parsee lived amongst one another for so long, only to be transformed by the most arbitrary and yet political of machinations.  This resulted in dislocation, as Hindus who lived on "the wrong side" had to move and Muslims who "lived on the wrong side" were dislocated. Sikhs struggled to identify which land was "theirs" and other groups found themselves dislocated and dislodged from what they initially believed to be home.  The savage violence and brutality that were the results yielded unimaginable loss.  

When one dissects the violence and brutality, Sidhwa makes it clear that this experience was different for women than it was for men.  Certainly, Sidhwa demonstrates that men suffered brutally violent deaths and disfiguring as a result of Partition.  Yet, she also suggests that the violence that was perpetrated in Partition was done so in a particularly sexist manner towards women.  The orgy of violence that resulted in Partition resulted in the rapes and violations of women. Men used Partition as an excuse for violence against women. Such heinous displays of savage brutality reveals a social dislocation, as women were "raped" twice.  They were dislocated socially, experiencing rejection and dislocation because they lacked a community.  At the same time, there was unimaginable loss as many of these women were discarded and silenced.  The ugly underbelly of Partition that Sidhwa reveals is that the people in the position of power were men.  Even the most powerless of men had more power than women during Partition.  The result is that women experienced an almost doubly painful experience of loss and dislocation.

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