In Girls by Mrinal Pande, why was everything in life a problem for the mother?

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

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The mother sees everything in life as a problem because of the social condition in which she lives.  The primary social condition for the mother is one where girls are seen as inferior.  They are not boys, and because of this, all aspects of a girl reflects potential for problems.  I think that this is where the mother comes across as one who sees everything as problematic.  She has internalized the Indian rural condition, one that strongly favors the political, economic, and social elevation of men over women.  The mother is embedded in this social fabric, so much so that she cannot see anything past it.  In contrast to the idea of seeing what is into what should be, the social order has embedded itself so much into the psyche of the mother that she can no longer see anything other than how the social order can perceive reality.  In this light, she sees everything as concerning problems regarding girls.  The fact that girls have to be married represents economic hardship with practices of dowry and appeasing the son- in-law and his family.  The lack of economic and social autonomy reflects the overall powerlessness that the mother perceives and that women actually experience in Pande's construction of rural India.

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