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Based on Deshpande's essay, is woman a goddess of self-denial?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This one is a challenging one.  I think that a couple of items have to be made clear in answering this.  The first would be that I am not sure that Deshpande is making the argument that the denial of women's voice is something instigated by "self."  I think that she would argue that the self- denial that women have undergone has been imposed externally.  There is a self- denial that Deshpande sees as part of being a woman that I don't think is something she sees as initiated by the self:

Perhaps it was at that moment that I stepped over the threshold and into the kitchen.  For, as if the focus had shifted, my vision suddenly changed.  And, instead of that safe warm haven of my childhood, I saw another kitchen, where women were chained to endless, tedious labour, crouching for hours before a smoking fire.

Considering the implications of this idea, I would say that Deshpande argues that the self- denial that women are subjected to as they get older is something is imposed by others in an external order.  This self- denial and enduring it with a sense of dissent through the validation of voice is what enables the woman to become a goddess, in Deshpande's mode of thought.  It is not the self- denial where women become goddesses, but rather in the consistent affirmation of and solidarity through voice in which women can transcend this externally imposed condition.  This is where they move from "kitchens" to the realms of the "goddess."

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