Rabindranath Tagore

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"The wife of a man who is, of his own accord, submissive is altogether out of employment. All those weapons which she has inherited from her grandmothers of untold centuries are useless in her hands: the force of her tears, the fire of her anger, and the snare of her glances lie idle."

Please explain this passage from the story, "The Lost Jewels" by Rabindranath Tagore. 

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This passage, when read in the full context of the story, references the author's perspective on marriage and the benefits and challenges it poses to men and women. Here, the author is referring to Bhusan and his wife, Mani. Bhusan is a quiet, virtuous, and placid man who is described as "absolutely faultless." Meanwhile, his wife is a shrewd and often callous woman who finds her husband's perceived perfection to be evidence of weakness. The author further states that, due to his agreeable nature, Bhusan "was therefore neither successful in business nor in his own home." This harsh statement is a reflection of the author's belief that the purpose of marriage is to allow a woman, by virtue of her charms and feminine nature passed down through her ancestors, to civilize her husband and make him into something great. This can be seen as Tagore's take on the old saying, "Behind every great man is a great woman."

Earlier in the passage, Tagore notes, "From the very moment that man and woman became separate sexes, woman has been exercising all her faculties in trying by various devices to fascinate and bring man under her control." Here, he is referring to what he believes is the desire of all wives to "tame" or subordinate the barbaric nature of their husbands into something more agreeable to civilized society. Tagore argues that, because Bhusan is already in possession of a civilized nature before he married Mani, he presents no challenge for his wife. As a result, Mani's charms have no practical impact on her husband and she is without "employment." In other words, Tagore believes that she has no role to fill in their marriage because the "work" has already been done for her.

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