The Management of Grief Themes

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Gender Roles and Cultural Tradition

The crash of Air India Flight 182 brings radical changes to its victims' families' lives. In "The Management of Grief" Mukherjee focuses on its effects on women. Women are confronted with the problem of mourning; do they need to observe the self-sacrificing mourning rituals and decorum of "proper" Indian widows, even in the "new world" of Canada? Shaila and Kusum are opposing models of behavior; Kusum succumbs to her culture's expectation that she will dedicate her life to her dead husband (by not remarrying and living a life of asceticism) while Shaila struggles with these oppressive cultural demands, finally rejecting them.

Shaila imagines that she hears Vikram and her sons crying out to her: "Mommy, Shaila." Their cries are telling: Shaila's main roles are that of mother and wife. The patriarchal conventions of the majority of the world (women stay home, cook and tend the...

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This section contains 1,754 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Management of Grief Study Guide
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The Management of Grief from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.