I think that Mukherjee is making a definite statement about violence in her work. It is a complex one as it seeks to challenge some preconceived notions about the concept and how it relates to what it means to be a woman or to not be in position of power when confronted with it. In the end, I think that violence plays a large part in the emergence of Jasmine's identity and her sense of self.
In some respects, violence is shown as a part of Jasmine's assertion of self. When Jasmine has to kill the mad dog, it is a reflection of how violence can play a role in identity formation. When confronted with the mad dog, presumably out to do harm to Jasmine when it sets its sights on her, Jasmine has to resort to violence in order to protect herself. This is the same reality that faces her when she has to confront the captain who rapes her on her first night in America. Violence in both settings is seen as a part of her identity. It is a part of her sense of self and something that she must face and confront in order to emerge into new conceptions of her self. For Jasmine, violence and freedom go together. In order for the latter to be evident, some aspect of the former has to be evident. It is interesting to note that the use of violence is an expression of freedom. While Jasmine is forecast by the astrologer to be alone and isolated, Jasmine is not inclined to discard her freedom. Rather, she uses violence as a way to define herself, a reflection of her will to live and her need to define herself in a manner that she wishes. While normally discarded and seen as something that should not be undertaken, especially by women, Jasmine embraces freedom as a part of her reality and as something that ends up defining her being. As she is surrounded by it emerging out of the shadows of Partition and seeing her husband die through violence and his assailant turn up in New York, violence is seen as a discriminating form of self- defining reality.