My Sainted Aunts
The Role of Characterisation Throughout the Short Stories of “Mayadevi’s London Yatra” and “Bishtpur Landing”
“My Sainted Aunts”, written by Bulbul Sharma, is an Indian book built upon several stories with unique characters, each one of them presented with great diction and characterization. Furthermore, the author decides to use and portray Indian lifestyle for women before modern times, where these were severally judged, treated inferiorly and discriminated by society. More specifically, one of the biggest arguments and problematics seen throughout the stories are child marriage, women being widows and daily categorization, giving the reader and overall look of their situation. To demonstrate the previous, the stories of “Mayadevi’s London Yatra” and “Bishtpur Landing” display the personality and mind of the protagonists through implicit and explicit characterization, reaching out for the reader and therefore making them both curious and attracted to the plotline and their lifestyles.
In the case of the first story, “Mayadevi’s London Yatra”, Sharma creates such a singular and peculiar character, that Mayadevi herself represents a challenge towards India’s daily society and mentality. Primarily, she is a widower, and instead of being isolated, unconfident and weak, she is portrayed as being a strict, firm and powerful woman. An excellent example of how she is described and interpreted is directly in the first paragraph of the book: “The day Mayadevi… reign of terror.” (Sharma, 1992, p.1). Here, the author uses exceptionally well implicit characterization, due to the fact that she decides to let the readers know that this amusing woman had a deep influence in her household and in those that surrounded her, as well as never-ending mood swings. Furthermore, the choice of adjectives and verbs helps the story to express itself towards anyone who may read it, making each one of them have its own interpretation of the character, which in this case, it would be of an old, stubborn and straightforward woman. Nevertheless, the author also decides to show how Mayadevi has a soft side behind her rigid outer-shell, picturing how such a harsh woman can let people in within time. As it is seen in this citation, “By the time… London Yatra.” (Sharma, 1992, p. 17-18), factors such as the length of the fluid paragraph, diction, dialogue, description and imagery help the dark-humored and sarcastic character of Mayadevi to be better understood and therefore, conquer the minds and hearts of many readers.
On the other hand, “Bishtpur Landing” is yet another story where Sharma accomplishes to attract the reader and show them a very singular case in India’s daily life. In opposition to “Mayadevi’s London Yatra”, the character in this story in Neelima, an ironic seven-year old who aspires being a part of child marriage and drop out of school, which at the time was one of the biggest privileges. This seems ironic due to the fact that girls at the time dreamt about going to school, learn and be acknowledgeable, instead of being forced into foreign families and leave their home due to the obligations of child marriage. With this, Sharma depicts her character throughout explicit and implicit characterization. To illustrate both portrayals, a great example is seen at the beginning of the story: “Neelima was a… into the class.” (Sharma, 1992, p. 20), where the author builds up her character by imposing some explicit details, by the use of direct adjectives such as unhappy and poor, revealing her lack of scholar ability and her negative approach towards it. In this same example, there’s mostly implicit characterization for the reader to decipher and that way think and connect more with the story, leading to the conclusion that Neelima is a spoiled, non-ordinary and careless girl that doesn’t understand the reality that surrounds her.
After reading and analyzing in depth “Mayadevi’s London Yatra” and “Bishtpur Landing”, it is agreeable that Bulbul Sharma has succeeded in creating an outstanding characterization with the capacity of opening the eyes and conquering the minds of many readers. In the case of Mayadevi, this character may be described and portrayed like such a cold-hearted, modest woman, but with the ability the Sharma has with her words, the reader finishes accepting, embracing and laughing along this character’s story. Meanwhile, Neelima’s story had the ability of making the reader see and understand the mind of a young and rich Indian girl, where her acts, thoughts and overall lesson can make the readers relate to her, bringing back the memories of either their childhood or past reckless decisions. In conclusion, the use of characterization was used extremely well throughout the first two stories in the book “My Sainted Aunts”, making it an overall accurate, unique and captivating story towards its public.