Portrayal of Middle Class Women in Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice-Candy Man
During the Catatonic Times of Partition
N. Gunasekaran, M.A., M.Phil. and V. Peruvalluthi, Ph.D.
The women characters "subtly but effectively subvert the ingrained elements of
patriarchy, privileging female will, choice, strength along with the feminine qualities of
compassion and motherhood” in Ice-Candy-man which can undoubtedly be termed as a
feminist novel - the traditional novel eulogizes the heroic qualities of men, while in feminist Language in India www.languageinindia.com
12 : 7 July 2012
N. Gunasekaran and V. Peruvalluthi, Ph.D.
Portrayal of Middle Class Women in Bapsi Sidhwa‟s Ice-Candy Man during the Catatonic
Times of Partition 188
narratives women acquire such attributes by their active involvement in and control of
Lenny, the narrator in Ice-Candy-Man is also the centre of the novel, retaining her independent identity in diverse situations. Her attitude towards her nameless cousin
significantly portrays the feminist need for assertive equality. Lenny, the child narrator of the
novel, witnesses the barbaric cruelties of the Partition days, including the inhuman
commoditization of women. Yet what emerges as the dominant note or thematic motif in the
novel is not the victimization of women, but their will and sustained effort to fight against it
and overcome it.
Most of the other Partition novels in English have concentrated largely on the
helplessness of women pitched against oppressive male forces. Khushwant Singh's Train to
Pakistan, and Manohar Malgonkar's A Bend in the Ganges, highlight the trauma women had
to undergo during the catatonic times of Partition.
The Woman Characters
The women characters of Ice-Candy-Man draw our attention to the facts of
victimization of women and their being forcefully compelled to...