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of patriarchy, including literature, religion, education, marriage, and the value system. It is a meta-fiction that demythologizes existing images of womanhood by decolonizing them from patriarchal norms. The "iconic presentation of the feminine" is fractured and is remythologized into potent manifestations of "outcaste power." Theprotagonist ofManasi's short story "The Sword of the Princess" is such a remythologized female. In a fit of fantasy she stabs her husband.
Like a princess, I pulled out the sword. I do not know whether it was his smooth neck that resembled the shining skin of the poisonous snake or my unsheathed sword that prompted me to kill my husband. But all that is irrelevant. When he fell down to one side, his hands hanging beside his shocked self, my husband's face did not look like I expected. Death makes all of us terribly worthless and foolish. The face of this man lying fallen at my feet was incredibly like that of a buffoon.
Her novelette Nanmathinmakaklude Suvi^esam ("The Gospel of Good-and Evil") is a virulent attack on the patriarchal implications of Christian attitudes to sex. It is a piece that bites in its blasphemous phrasing of Christian dogmas. Its dedicatory note is a challenge to conventional dedication.
To my mother who is a hard believer and who lives pained and praying at the thought that I will go to hell.
Kamala Das had established the irreverent, lethal, subversive idiom in Malay alam literature even earlier than mainstream literature had used it. The confessional, subjective.personal, demythified, andnarcissistic narrative in contemporary women's literature in Malay alam necessitates a detailed study of the history of its evolution, for it is not only a case of literary history, but also the story of a female culture evolving from submissive conformity to virulent resistance.
Alexander, Meena. 1989. " 'Outcaste Power*: Ritual Displacement and Virile Maternity in Indian
Women Writers." Economic and Political Weekly, 18 February. Antharjanam, Lalithambika. 1979. Thereniedutha Kathakal. Kottayam: S.P.C.S. ______. 1966. A^makath&ykkoramukham. Kottayam: S.P.C.S.
Chummar, T.M. 1968. PadyasQhitya Caritram (History of Poetic Literature). Kottayam: N.B.S. (1936) Ikkuvumma, Thottakkattu. 1907. SubhadrQrjunam. Trichur: Bharatavilasam. Joseph, Sara. 1988. "Oro Ezhuthukariyude Ullilum." Mathrubhumi Weekly, September 18-24. ______. 1989. Nanmathinmakalude Suvisfsam. Kottayam: N.B.S.
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Parameswara lyer, S. Ulloor. 1979. Kerala Sshitya Caritram, vol. 3. Trivandrum: U. of Kerala Press. Parvathi Amma, Muthukulam. 1963. Pookari.