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Mother in law by Jean Arasanayagam

Summary and Analysis of Jean Arasanayagam’s Mother in law

Mother in law Poem

“You people are all gulping down your food,
first before thinking of the gods,
it is our custom to give the first mouth to the gods
the crows are the “vahanam of Sani” she says.”
The mythical belief rooted in the old woman
“Look the crows are coming right into the kitchen.”
The mother-in-law’s traditional vegetarian food style does not please the young daughterin-law and her attitude towards non vegetarians treating them as ‘flesh eaters.’
“You are all flesh eaters,” she says with disdain.

The mother-in-law’s attitude towards ‘flesh eaters’ reflecting her hatred for such people.
“Flesh eaters. I, said flesh eaters?” Those are people who eating human flesh no. In
Africa they are called cannibals.”
“Beggars, I am old dog. No use to anybody.”
“If you all can’t keep, put me in the naki madama, I will go there very good, very good” and
her young family members treating her words as a joke.
… wait and see, in six weeks.
They will chase her away,” chuckles with ironic glee…”
“They said wait and see, in six weeks
they will chase her away,” chuckles with
ironic glee, that the prophesy has not been
fulfilled does not move to her on whit.”

“… taken from her plate before she eats the first mouth,
lurching unsteadily into the garden staggering on the pebbles,
the golden orioles fly away, the crows pursue.”
She takes pleasure in condemning other cultures
“You people are all gulping down your food,
first before thinking of the gods,
it is our custom to give the first mouth to the gods
the crows are the “vahanam of Sani” she says.”

The mythical belief rooted in the old woman
“Look the crows are coming right into the kitchen.”
“You are all flesh eaters,” she says with disdain.
“Flesh eaters. I, said flesh eaters?”
Those are people who eating human flesh no. In
Africa they are called cannibals.”
“Beggars, I am old dog. No use to anybody.”
… wait and see, in six weeks.
They will chase her away,” chuckles with ironic glee…”

SUBJECT-MATTER: The conflict between mother in law and daughter n law
MAIN THEME: cultural conflict
OTHER THEMES: Lack of cross-cultural understanding
Conventional behavior and attitudes
The usual conflict between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law

INTRODUCTION

Mother in Law by Jean Arasanayagam shows the conflict between the daughter in Law and the mother in Law. It is bilateral. In addition to the traditional conflict there is also cultural conflict as the mother in Law is Sri Lankan whereas the daughter in Law is an English woman. The subject- matter is Arasanayagam’s mother’s behavior. The poem is based on cultural differences. The poem consists of appropriate words and Sri Lankan rituals. The language is simple and conversational.

LITERARY STUDY

In this poem, ‘Mother-in-law,’ by Jean Arasanayagam unveils the traditions and behavior patterns prevalent in the Hindu Society and how the grandmother dislikes the behavior patterns of the daughter in law and her daughter who are wholly westernized. The poet emphasizes the old woman’s mentality and the young woman’s attitude towards the
grandmother’s manners and culture. The mother-in-law’s traditional vegetarian food style does not please the young daughter-in-law and her daughter and her attitude towards non vegetarians treating them as ‘flesh eaters.

The mother-in-law self pitying unable to continue her argument further compels them to send her to a ‘Home for the Aged.'”If you all can’t keep, put me in the naki madama, I will go there very good, very good.” Her young family members treat her words as a joke. In spite of her being old, feeble and helpless the old mother-in-law tries to dominate the whole family. It is emphasized in logical manner and her attempt to bring before the readers the usual conflict between an old-mother-in-law and a young daughter-in-law, alien and indifferent to old Hindu traditions.

The poet has specifically emphasizes the old woman’s mentality and the young woman’s
attitude towards mythical belief rooted in her mother-in-law in an ironic manner.
“Look the crows are coming right into the kitchen.”

The mother-in-law’s traditional vegetarian food style does not please the young daughterin-law and her attitude towards non vegetarians treating them as ‘flesh eaters.’ Jean Arasanayagam has revealed clearly and in picturesque manner, the rooted beliefs and social behaviour patterns and the insincerity in modern perceptions.

In spite of her being old, feeble and helpless the old mother-in-law trying to dominate the whole family is emphasised in logical manner and her attempt to bring before the readers the usual conflict between an old-mother-in-law and a young daughter-in-law, alien and indifferent to old Hindu traditions.

The mother-in-law’s relentless ambition to dominate the entire family by the power of her words. The poet, depicting clearly and descriptively the outcome of evil attitudes and false superiority in effective and dramatic manner. The poet’s diction style, simple and direct and appropriate wording keeping the images created whimsically alive.

Jean Arasanayagam has revealed clearly and in picturesque manner, the rooted beliefs and social behaviour patterns and the insincerity in modern perceptions. In spite of her being old, feeble and helpless the old mother-in-law trying to dominate the whole family is emphasised in logical manner and her attempt to bring before the readers the usual
conflict between an old-mother-in-law and a young daughter-in-law, alien and indifferent to old Hindu traditions. The mother-in-law’s relentless ambition to dominate the entire family by the power of her words. The poet, depicting clearly and descriptively the outcome of evil attitudes and false superiority in effective and dramatic manner.

Mother in Law by Jean Arasanayagam shows the conflict between the daughter in Law and the mother in Law. It is bilateral. In addition to the traditional conflict there is also cultural conflict as the mother in Law is Sri Lankan whereas the daughter in Law is an English woman. The subject- matter is Arasanayagam’s mother’s behavior. The poem is based on cultural differences. The poem consists of appropriate words and Sri Lankan rituals. The language is simple and conversational.

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