Breast Stories by Mahasweta Devi*Translated and introduced by Gayatry Chakravorty Spivak*
As Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak points out in her introduction, the breast is far more than a symbol in these stories - it is the means of harshly indicting an explotative social system.
In Draupadi, the protagonist, Dopdi Mejhen, is a tribal revolutionary, who, arrested and gang-raped in custody, turns the terrible wounds of her breast into a counter-offensive,
In Breast-giver, a woman who becomes a professional wet nurse to support her family, dies of painful breast cancer, betrayed alike by the breasts that had for years been her chief identity and the dozens of sons she had suckled.
In Behind the Bodice, migrant labourer Gangors statuesque breasts excite the attention of ace photographer Upin Puri, triggering off a train of violence that ends in tragedy.
Spivak introduces this cycle of breast stories with thought-provoking essays which probe the texts of the stories, opening them up to a complex of interpretation and meaning.
Read Theory to Me - Responsibility (essay) GAYATRI CHAKRAVORTY SPIVAK
Book Review: Breast Stories by Mahasweta Devi, A Metaphor For Exploitation
Breast Stories. This cluster of short fiction has a common motif: the breast. As Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak points out in her introduction, the breast is far more than a symbol in these stories. It becomes the means of a harsh indictment of an exploitative social system. In Draupadi , the protagonist Dopdi Mejhen is a tribal revolutionary who, arrested and gang-raped in custody, turns the terrible wounds of her breasts into a counter-offensive.
Breast Stories is a collection of three stories authored by Mahasweta Devi, a feminist writer and activist. She is a Bengali leftist intellectual, whose writing is devoted to the struggles of tribal communities. A snippet from an interview with her publisher gives a precious glimpse into her psyche, in which she declared with brutal honesty —. I often say that my world is divided between two things- the needful and the needless. I am interested only in the former. Her writing has little to do with the petty everyday idiosyncrasies of the privileged; she shuns the needless or the unnecessary. In her matter-of-fact no-rhetoric writing one sees no romanticism in the plight of women who are most directly and drastically affected by the patriarchy.
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