Jack was driving along a back country road one bright and shiny Sunday afternoon. He had the next week off, so he decided to go for a long leisurely drive.
The prison system exercises control over the body as well as the intellectual abilities, the very processes of thinking of the individual. Instead, it becomes a chronicle of the ordinary. Rape is also performed on women as punishment. Contribute Now. Indu Menon.
Respond to this article with a post Share your perspective on this article with a post on ScrollStack, and send it to your followers. Menon uses the powerful imagery of Kali, the avenging goddess also an outlier when it comes to conventional standards of beautyin her various forms — Bhadrakali, Raktakali — to express the collective rage of womanhood. In a necessary political act of the source language claiming control, Nandakumar often retains forms of address, words and phrases from Malayalam, most of which can be understood contextually, aided by footnotes for more complex terms.
A strange creature.
A wild animal. Support Scroll.
Plots centring on battered, psychologically damaged women have appeared across genres, but rarely have these stories been told from the perspective of the survivor. Multiple stories in this collection concern themselves with physical and sexual violence performed on women but Menon never once allows this violence to be reduced to a mere trope. He goes on to discuss the emergence of the prison system and structures of surveillance and control.
Menon forces this squeamish reader guilty as charged!
One need not even go back to the Manusmriti to trace a history. Reports of army and police brutality are not unknown to readers familiar with the political history of India. Her use of images that evoke ugliness and disgust seems very much in consonance with what Karl Rosenkranz proposes in his Aesthetics of Ugliness For Rosenkrantz, beauty and ugliness are inter-aesthetic that operate across the multiple spheres of morality, religion, culture, and politics. Menon details the smells of death and putrefaction, she describes the decay and dismemberment of bodies, putting together a whole anatomy of disgust.
The onus then is on the reader to put in the work, to make an effort to consciously deal with the performance of translation.
There are no safe spaces. Indu Menon revels in the grotesque. The physical deformity of the creature is inflicted on him by a rapacious, oppressive and consequently, far more grotesque authority. In retaliation, some transmogrify. These stories are a reminder that we are still citizens living under the threat of the panopticon, desperately attempting to self-regulate and to fit in.
It is rich with intertextual references, little easter eggs tucked away inside images, snatches of verse, titles, left to the reader to discover.
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There is a playfulness, a lightness of touch that informs her writing. The issues Menon deals with — a clearly intersectional feminism, undoing the silence on rituals and practices of oppression, a deep investment in the act of striking back at the oppressor — are as relevant in as they were almost two decades ago. In this and other stories, fathers lose daughters, lovers lose unborn children, families fall apart.
For this reality check alone, the book deserves a space on every politically conscious bookshelf. Share your perspective on this article with a post on ScrollStack, and send it to your followers.
They change into cows and into goddesses and exact retribution. Rape becomes a tool of control — first over the body of the victim, and, by extension, encoding the body within the discourse of morality, over the community the individual belongs to. In doing this, her fiction often veers from the realistic to the surreal, positing solutions that lie outside of existing hegemonic structures and systems.
In story after story she explores this tension between discipline and rebellion. A fairly common and increasingly disturbing trend in contemporary literature has been the use of rape as a trope. Menon seems to play with the idea of woman as cow.
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Women are abused and violated. At her feet are flowers — white, dainty perfect. Following a tradition going back to the Gothic of Mary Shelley, Menon exposes the nature of the grotesque, inverting aesthetic expectations. They rebel, they make themselves visible, and fairly often, they avenge themselves on their oppressors. They are not. The transformation of their bodies into these self-created empowered forms allows her heroines an agency that the real world often denies them.