Towards a Taxonomy of Masculinities: Mapping Hegemonic and Alternative Masculine Practices in Shashi Deshpande’s The Dark Holds No Terror and That Long Silence

Suraj Gunwant1 & Rashmi Gaur2

1Ph.D. candidate at the department of Humanities & Social Sciences, IIT Roorkee. Email: 2Professor of English and Cultural Studies at the department of Humanities & Social Sciences, IIT Roorkee. 

  Volume 8, Number 3, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v8n3.20

Received April 19, 2016; Revised July 04, 2016; Accepted July 15, 2016; Published August 18, 2016


This paper reads two early novels of Shashi Deshpande and maps the ways in which traditional and new alternative masculinities find juxtaposition in the chosen texts. Although Shashi Deshpande is regularly posited as an author of progressive feminist politics, whose fictions present a subjugated femininity under the oppression of a unitary and oppressive masculinity; this reading, however, complicates this position by exploring diverse and contradictory embodiments of manhood in her works. In so doing, this study submits that the presence of supportive or caring masculinities militates against the popular notion of a singular, oppressive and homogenous masculinity and problematizes the notion of pervasive and universal patriarchy. However, these caring or testicular masculinities do not find much textual endorsement. On the contrary, it is the traditional/ patriarchal masculinities that retain their dominance, which allows us to expose the novels’ unconscious support of the status quo.

Keywords: Shashi Deshpande, Masculinities, Gender

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