Gender and the colonial short story: Rudyard Kipling and Rabindranath Tagore
AdvisorMonsman, Gerald C.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractGender is given a new definition that differs from the feminist conceptualization of the issue in this study of selected short stories by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) and Rabindranath Tagore (1865-1941). In the colonial ordering or pervasive power mechanism, gender regulates all men and all women. Gender is just as manifest in race, class, rank, manners, and beliefs as it is in sexual ordering. My new coinage of the term "genderization" is defined as an enforcement of power relationships and indicates either a negative or positive effect on society within colonial practices. Literature seen as an avenue of creative genderization leads to a fresh assessment of Kipling and Tagore. Despite a history of divisive practical conditions and a negative discursive heritage, a creative and conciliatory transformation of gender is contained within the short fiction of Kipling and Tagore. Indispensable in understanding postcolonialism, yet not credited for it, Kipling spoke from the forum of the ruling Anglo administration and indirectly undermined the rigid race policy. This author deserves more recognition for the cross cultural healing gestures within his Indian short stories. Tagore, the first non-European Nobel Prize winner and the father of Indian modernism, spoke in a muted manner to appease the persistent censorship and the hostilities of the orthodox Hindus against his desired modernist reforms. Well known in the West for his lyrical poetry, easily accredited as the spiritual mentor of Gandhi, Tagore is much less understood as a writer who used short story as a positive vehicle of reform. The idea of "structuration" proposed by Anthony Giddens, defines society in three distinct yet interactive structures that cover the practical world (political, economic, bureaucratic, and military), the discursive tradition (religion, literature, media, and education), and the unconscious (myth, music, cultural beliefs). Giddens' kinetic, inclusive, and flexible model helps to elucidate these cryptic short stories written during a transitional period of high imperialism. Biographical and sociopolitical data are intertextually brought together to reveal the subtexts of the short stories. These two dissimilar authors, responding to the great paradigm shift of modernism, nonetheless project an ideal world of rational and material progress in an international global union.
Degree ProgramGraduate College