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The Portrayal of The Protagonist in 'Fasting, Feasting' By Anita Desai and 'Darjeeling' By Bharti Kirchner.


Academic year: 2017

Membagikan "The Portrayal of The Protagonist in 'Fasting, Feasting' By Anita Desai and 'Darjeeling' By Bharti Kirchner."


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CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION Background of the Study ………...1

Statement of the Problem ………...3

Purpose of the Study ………..3

Method of Research ………...4

Organization of the Thesis ………...4





APPENDICES: Synopsis of Fasting, Feasting ………...32

Synopsis of Darjeeling ………...…………...32


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Dalam skripsi ini, saya menganalisis tokoh utama wanita dalam novel Darjeeling karya Bharti Kirchner dan novel Fasting, Feasting karya Anita Desai. Dua tokoh wanita India ini digambarkan hidup dalam lingkungan keluarga yang masih memegang erat tradisi India yang mempengaruhi perkembangan karakteristik mereka.

Novel Fasting, Feasting menggambarkan Uma, seorang wanita India yang dilahirkan kurang beruntung dalam hal fisik, tidak menarik, bodoh dan kikuk dalam berperilaku. Karena itulah, pernikahannya selalu gagal, dan pada akhirnya dia hanya hidup menumpang dengan orang tuanya, tunduk, mematuhi segala perintah orang tuanya dan mengalami stress karena hidup dalam kungkungan keluarga.

Novel Daarjeling menggambarkan Sujata, seorang wanita yang

inferior jika dibandingkan dengan kakaknya, Aloka hanya karena dia seorang


Kanada, dia menjadi percaya diri karena keluarganya yang di Kanada mendukung Sujata dalam hal apapun. Akhirnya Sujata menjadi seorang wanita yang menarik, percaya diri, dan sukses.


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Fasting, Feasting

It is a novel which tells about the close-knit Indian family. Uma is the eldest daughter in the family and is treated unwell by her parents. She is trapped at home as a traditional Indian. She is allowed to get neither the good education in school nor another activities outside the house. It is contrast with her brother Arun who has to get the good education in Massachusetts because he is a son of the family. Uma also has a sister, Aruna who is, smart and beautiful, different with her. It causes that her sister is the first who get the marriage proposal before Uma so Mama arrange the marriage for Uma. Unfortunately, the marriage takes place only for a few months. Uma comes back again to her family who always makes her oppressed. For several times she tries to leave home but it is always failed because MamaPapa, her parent, always make her go home. In the end of the story Uma is still trapped at home but with a better relation with her parent.



the family. Pranab, Aloka’s fiancé falls in love with Sujata who is unattractive and awkward. Then, they have an affair behind Aloka. But as the time goes by, the affair is known by their father and makes Sujata has to move to Canada. The relation between Pranab and Aloka is also forbidden which make them also move to New York. The sister relationship of Aloka and Sujata is also apart because they are separated and it becomes worse when Pranab declare a divorce to Aloka. She thinks that Pranab still has love to Sujata. Sujata, who is now more confident and attractive then some years ago, is confused because Pranab tells that he has already divorced with Aloka and wants to have a relationship again with Sujata. And it becomes more complicated when Nina, their grandmother invites them back to Darjeeling to celebrate her birthday. It makes Sujata has to meet Pranab, who also comes, and Aloka whom she is always envious at. It is not easy for her to make up the relationship but in the end of the story they make up a good relationship. Sujata also is given a family tea plantation that she dreams since she was young and it is also make the relationship with her grandmother better.


Anita Desai


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Memorial Prize, and Clear Light of Day (1980), In Custody (1984) and Fasting, Feasting (1999), each of which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Not only was In Custody shortlisted for Booker Prize, but also made into a film by Merchant Ivory productions. Her children’s book The Village by The Sea (1982), won the

Guardian Children’s Fiction Award.

Now, Anita Desai lives in the United States, where she is the John E. Burchard Professor of Writing at Massachusetts Institiute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the professional positions upon leaving the university were in Chicago as a computer programmer, then as a systems analyst and consultant. She also has ever worked as a systems programmer in Europe and systems manager at Bank of America, and then as an advisory systems engineer for IBM.


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In this modern era, many people talk about human right. There are also many institutions which are founded to protect human rights. But, the fact is that many people do not have their rights. A part of them are Indian women, who still have to struggle to obtain their own rights because they live in India, a country which is still strongly governed by traditional values. They find difficulties to gain their own liberation from the authority of the older generation.


First, I choose Fasting, Feasting because Anita Desai, as the author, is an Indian so she can create a reliable portrayal of an Indian character better than any other non-Indian writer because she can “[feel] about India as an non-Indian” (Prono). Then, she has received many praises from reviewers because of “her intellectual rigor and vivid portrayal of India” (eNotes). She is a distinguished writer and has won Neil Gunn Prize in 1993 and Alberto Moravia Prize for Literature in Italy in 2000.

Fasting, Feasting is shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize and considered “a most beautiful novel, very moving, very funny, terribly illustrative of what happens to women in different parts of the world” (Randomhouse). The novel clearly shows the characteristics of the protagonist, who is an Indian woman. Besides, it vividly describes the protagonist’s appearance, condition of her daily life and the opportunity in struggling life facing the oppression from the protagonist’s own family.

For the comparison, I choose another Indian novel, Darjeeling which is also written by an Indian writer, Bharti Kirchner. This novel, like Desai’s Fasting, Feasting also portrays an Indian protagonist. Kirchner is also an Indian and she “does infuse her work with a genuine Indian spirit” (Dawson) so she can create a reliable character authentically. She is also a productive author and has won two Seattle Arts Commission literature grants, and an Artist Trust GAP grant.


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Mr. White’s Confession, says that “for her third novel, Bharti Kirchner has brought her considerable gifts—her radiant prose and understanding of human heart—to a story of India, ... Darjeeling is an enchantment.” (Bhartikirchner)

Finally, I decide to elaborate the portrayal of the protagonists in the two novels, Fasting, Feasting and Darjeeling because I want to investigate how far their characteristics are influenced by their family’s point of view of Indian traditional values. It would be interesting to study the Indian traditional values that make Indian women trap and unable to develop themselves in this modern era because they do not have their liberation.


In order to analyse the novel, I state the problems as follow: 1. How do the authors portray the protagonists in the two novels?

2. What are the authors’ purposes in creating such characters in their novels?


The study is carried out to show:

1. How the authors portray the protagonists in two novels.

2. The authors’ purposes in creating such characters in their novels.



analyse those two primary texts by using formalism. I also look for some resources from the Internet and theory books, and then I use them to support the analysis which assist me to write the thesis.



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After completing the analysis of the protagonists in Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai and Darjeeling by Bharti Kirchner, I would like to draw a conclusion. I conclude that there is unfairness for a woman in India who lives with the family who still holds traditional values and whose family’s point of view strongly influences the women’s characteristics. It can be seen through the change of their characteristics in facing the problems in their life.

First, in Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai, I analyse Uma as a protagonist in the novel. Uma lives in the family who still have traditional values; girls are to be married and boys are to become as educated as possible. And Uma is portrayed unattractive, unintelligent and clumsy which makes her unlikely to get married. Although Uma is persistent to get educated and has a job, she is limited by her parents’ value so she cannot do much in her life. In the end she becomes submissive, reticent and stressful.


to be unattractive, introverted, difficult and rebellious. Her intelligence in tea plantation and business does not make her family appreciate her; in the contrary they consider it inappropriate. Her family always compares Sujata to her sister, Aloka, who is considered perfect as a woman because she is attractive, extrovert, and interested in many feminine activities like cooking, dancing, listening to classical music, and reading Bengali literature. As a result, Sujata feels inferior and cannot develop her potential. But her characteristics change when she moves to Canada because she has a family who supports her and she is also not limited by the family’s point of view there. She becomes successful, attractive, confident and extroverted.

I can find some similarities of the protagonists in both Fasting, Feasting and Darjeeling. Both of them are Indian woman whose characteristics are influenced by their family, who are still holding on to an opinion about girl education from the medieval era. The family still keeps the tradition although they live in the modern era now.

Girl Education: The girls of medieval India and especially Hindu society were not given formal education. They were given education related to household chores. But a famous Indian philosopher ‘Vatsyayana” wrote that women were supposed to be perfect in sixty four arts which included cooking,

spinning, grinding, knowledge of medicine, recitation and many more. (Maps of India)


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The Hindu Tradition: Marriage, perhaps the most important event in one’s life has many connotations attached to it in Hindu tradition. Marriage are said to be made in heaven and the sanctity associated with it is unparallel. No doubt, even in modern age, this is one tradition that has not lost its own glory and importance. (India Book)

Uma cannot get educated and has a job because she is forced to be married. And also Sujata cannot develop her potential in business because it is not appropriate for a woman in India at that time. Both of them were also born in unfortunate conditions, Uma who is unattractive, clumsy, unintelligent and Sujata who is inferior and introvert. As a result of the influence of their family’s point of view, they have bad characteristics. Uma becomes submissive, reticent and stressful,; Sujata becomes inferior and she is considered difficult and rebellious. But the difference is, Uma does not get the chance of getting out to get a better life so she ends her life tragically. On the other hand, luckily Sujata gets the chance to change her life by moving to Canada, living with her family who supports her and does not limit her with the tradition of India. Sujata can develop her potential so she becomes successful, extroverted, confident and attractive.


only thing that they have to be concerned is about how they can get the liberation to develop their potential.

The authors also probably want to criticize the parents or the older generation to give the liberation to their children or younger generation so that they can find the meaning of their life. Parents or older generation cannot dictate and make their children or younger generation be under their control in their entire of life. They also cannot judge their children with their points of view. They must give the younger generation opportunities and support them to lead their own life and develop their potential although it is different from theirs. The younger generation does not end their life tragically, but develop their life well.

I think both of the novelists are successful in showing the reader what they want to state. It can be seen clearly because they include the change of the portrayal of their character when the character face the conflict in their life. We can see that the family’s point of view influences the characteristics of the protagonist. In Darjeeling, Kirchner reveals her message more effectively because she also includes the change of the characteristics of the protagonist when the protagonist lives in a different condition, which is in Canada with a different family who is a contrast with her family in India. The family in Canada supports her and does not have Indian traditional values that make a woman have to be married. So we can see more clearly what the author wants to state through the difference.


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which the liberation for women is still limited, they cannot do what they want. For example, they still have an opinion that a woman does not need to obtain higher education because in the end she will get married and hold all the housework.



Primary Texts

Desai, Anita. Fasting, Feasting. London: Vintage, 2000.

Kirchner, Bharti. Darjeeling. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2003.

Internet Sites

Adams, Chris M..”Women’s Role in Indian Society”.Chadams World Travel Blog. 2007. 21 Jan. 2009. <http://chris-adams.blogspot.com/2007/08/role-of-women-in-indian-society.html>

Bhartikirchner.com. ”Darjeeling : A Novel”. 27 Jan. 2008. 31 Mar. 2008. <http://www.bhartikirchner.com/work2.htm>

Brownigg, Sylvia. “Fasting, Feasting”. Rev. of Fasting, Feasting, by Anita Desai. Salon Books. 2000. 31 Mar. 2008.

<http://www.archive.salon.com/books/src/books.map?347,36> Dawson, Lisa. Rev. of Darjeeling, by Bharti Kirchner. Cahners Bussiness

Information. 2002. 31 Mar. 2008.

<http://books.google.com/books?id=k7fPYoSzr48C&dq=darjeeling> Enotes.com. “Anita Desai 1937-“. 2008. 4 Feb. 2008.

<http://www.enotes.com/contemporary-literary-criticism/desai-anita> Family.jrank. “India-Status of Single and Divorced Persons in India”. 2009. 21

Jan.. <http://family.jrank.org/pages/862/India-Status-Single-Divorced-Persons-in-India.html>


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India Book.”Indian Marriage Customs-Traditional Hindu Wedding”. 2009. 19 May 2009. <http://www.indiabook.com/bbs/showthread.php?=27596.mht>

Maps of India. “Indian Women”. 2009. <http://www.mapsofindia.com/culture-indian-women.mht>

Prono, Luca. “Anita Desai”.Contemporary Writers. 2004. 31 Mar. 2008. <http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/?p=auth124>

Prose, Francine. “Let Them Eat Curry”. Rev. of Fasting, Feasting, by Anita Desai. New York Times. 2000. 31 Mar. 2008.

<http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/01/09/reviews/000109.09prose.html?_r=2&st =cse&sq=>

Randomhouse.co.uk ”Fasting, Feasting”.Rev. of Fasting, Feasting, by Anita Desai. Books at Random. 2000. 5 Apr. 2008.


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