What is the symbolic meaning of the woman's decision to work in "Montreal 1962"? Is the story feminist?

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That's a very good question. On the one hand, you could argue that the woman's decision to get a job is a feminist act. In those days, Canadian women were expected to stay at home and raise the kids. And as a Sikh woman the narrator is subjected to additional cultural expectations relating to women's work. By getting herself a job, the woman is defying all kinds of cultural values concerning what woman can and can't do.

On the other hand, we need to understand exactly why it is that the woman is going out to work. She's doing it to support her husband, whom no one will hire because of what is considered his exotic appearance. Despite being lured to Canada by the promise of job opportunities, the woman and her husband have found to their disappointment that they are regarded as "exotic new Canadians" and not treated equally.

As her husband cannot get a job, the narrator must support him. In that sense, she is working out of necessity rather than from a desire for independence. That being so, one could argue that her decision to get a job is not really a feminist act after all. It is especially true when one considers that, in working, she's unwittingly consolidating the power of the patriarchy in Sikh culture.

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