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The Good Wife and Other Tales of Seduction

Razia Sultana Khan, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The Good Wife and Other Tales of Seduction is a collection of fourteen short stories based on the everyday lives of Bangladeshi characters whose roles are defined by gender, culture, tradition and religion. Though none of the stories are autobiographical, some of them have sprouted from seeds that the women in my family casually scattered in my path. ^ My grandmother was a born story teller and when I was a child she told me an anecdote about the British enticing the population of their colony in Bengal by offering free tea to the local residents. The British had discovered that the areas in the northeastern parts of India were conducive to tea plantation, and though the best tea was shipped away to Britain, it was economically prudent to have a flourishing local market. The story “Seduction” originated from that. ^ Stories of ghosts, djinns (also jinns, genies) and evil spirits abound in South Asia and to this day there are many who believe in them. Since djinns are part of the religious belief system, events and actions which defy logic or seem incomprehensible are often explained by the presence and actions of spirits and supernatural beings. Thus, there is a rich tradition of storytelling where magic realism plays a strong part and supernatural beings like bhoots (ghosts), petnis (female evil spirits), and jinns merge with human kind. “The Tangawala’s Tale,” “Fried Fish,” and “Big Brother,” fall into this category. Parables and moral stories are exploited shamelessly by elders as training material. I still remember my grandmother telling me about a “good wife” who made preparation for her husband’s return by making available all manner of torture instruments in case he should need them to punish her. ^ The stories in this collection are diverse, but many of them show the strong hold religion and culture have over a people and how economic dependency results in oppression. ^

Subject Area

Literature, Modern|Literature, Asian

Recommended Citation

Khan, Razia Sultana, "The Good Wife and Other Tales of Seduction" (2007). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3355627.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3355627

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