What is a "keeping corner"?

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Kashmira Sheth's Keeping Corner (published in 2007) is a story of caste system ridden India (set in 1918), where a child widow is facing the rest of her barren and joyless life, and how she transforms overcoming her struggles, just as her country is struggling against the British. 

Leela, a Brahmin girl, engaged at the age of two and married at nine, was widowed at eleven before she could set foot in her husband's house. Being a widow in a Brahmin family (priest class), she has to follow the rigid customs demanded of a widow by the society. She has to "keep corner" for a year. "Keeping corner" demanded that she stay confined at her home, isolated from the world.  This is assumed to be preparation for a life of mourning.

And this is not the end; she has to keep her head shaved, never have the pleasure of a husband or children, never wear pretty colored clothes, and stay in mourning for the rest of her life. Fortunately for Leela, her brother and teacher help her realize her potential during this year of "keeping corner."

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