Matrimony as Sacrifice in Shani Mootoo’s Valmiki’s Daughter and Lakshmi Persaud’s Raise the Lanterns High
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Matrimony as Sacrifice in Shani Mootoo’s Valmiki’s Daughter and Lakshmi Persaud’s Raise the Lanterns High. (2023). Tout Moun Caribbean Journal of Cultural Studies, 8(1). https://journals.sta.uwi.edu/ojs/index.php/toutmoun/article/view/8807

Abstract

This paper considers notions of sacrificial womanhood as tied to gender norms such as the implied inevitability of marriage within the familial context of IndoTrinidadian culture. It explores two texts authored by writers Shani Mootoo and Lakshmi Persaud, Valmiki’s Daughter and Raise the Lanterns High, respectively. Whereas upon first glance the protagonists Viveka and Vasti appear to have little in common, one shared theme is the powerful desire to not inflict pain on parental figures through their choices. Despite varying degrees of education, opportunity and religious devotion, they have one thing in common – their eventual marriages at the story’s end are the ultimate sacrifice made from of a sense of duty towards a beloved parent. Both characters, I argue, are bound together by a shared, symbolic system of sacrificial womanhood which places “suitable” marriages at the centre of female achievement. Yet, the words of Supriya M. Nair ring true here, that “the woman’s network that admittedly provides a fostering environment may well become the web that ensnares her” (64). 

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