Gender discrimination is the main theme of the novel ‘Fasting, Feasting’ which mostly occurs in Indian society where males are always more superior than females. It is showing that two main characters in the story, Uma and Arun are being treated differently as an old strict tradition that females and males are not equivalent. Desai opens the chapter with the conflict in the family when Papa is holding the most powerful character in the story. ‘Post? Post? No,no,no. Very costly, too costly.
No point in that if Justice Dutt’s is going to America. Get the parcel ready for him to take. Get it ready Uma’, this illustrates that Papa is bossy and everybody including Uma and Mama must follow his commands. There are several repetition of the words that he says suggesting that he is the one who controls everything in the house and everyone must follow every word he says. Repetition of the word is very effective and it also illustrates that Papa needs his instruction to be done straight away.
Gender discrimination is taken seriously in India as Mama said ‘In my day, girls in the family were not given sweets, nuts, good thing to eat. If something special had been bought in the market, like sweets or nuts, it was given to the boys in the family.” This illustrates clearly that it is because of the inequality between genders as boys seem to be more important and therefore are treated in better ways than girls.
Desai uses the word “sweets or nuts” to suggest that even though it is something that can be found easily nowadays, girls in Mama’s day could not be able to afford it. This indicates how serious the gender discrimination takes part in Indian society. Men are more superior and important than women and women’s social standing will never equal to them. ‘It was a late pregnancy. Mama was frantic to have it terminated.’ Mama really wanted to have an abortion desperately but Papa disagrees, ‘Papa set his jaws’ Desai uses…