Portrayel of women with reference to the title of the story “Excellent things in women” Sara Suleri, writes in her first chapter, “Excellent Things in Women” about the important characteristics of her female relatives. She has a keen eye for the behavior and essence of her grandmother and siblings. It is interesting to note how Suleri develops the character of her grandmother from an adult perspective and what her childhood memories add to the picture of Dad’ the reader gets.
As the narrative rogresses Suleri shares some of her grandmother’s little idiosyncrasies such as the walking sticks she would cut down from the garden even though Suleri’s father would buy her dozens. We become familiar with Dadi’s traditional values through Suleri’s description of her grandmother sitting in the courtyard in the late afternoon winter sun. Not only does Suleri convey Dadi’s values and personal character but the reader also gains a sense of Dadi through Suleri’s extremely effective physical descriptions of her grandmother which often seem influenced from her childhood mind.
The escription of dad’ reflects how her grandmother had allowed life to sit heavily upon her spine. It appears only natural that all major events in Dadi’s life centre round food, eating and talk. Food, eating, cooking and feeding are in fact are the most natural activities associated with women. In a way, it is a universal symbol of women’s life. Similarly Dadi’s devotional acts – from prayer to ritual sacrifice of goat, her ‘berating of the Devil’ and Ramadan mastications are routine events of every Pakistani household. It could easily be argued that Dadi is a heroine of sorts in “Excellent
Things in Women. ” Suleri quotes her grandmother’s wise remarks and admires from a distance her strength. Yet, toward the end of the chapter Dad’ is shunned from the familys daily life and dies alone. Suleri admires her grandmother but does not further explain the distancing of Dadi from the family. It is clear that Dadi is meant to be viewed as one of the “excellent women,” yet many of her hardships and abandonment are written about. It is amongst and with women that women experience varied shades of human relationship. Woman’s fear, love, care and genuine respect are directed towards woman alone.
Woman finds support only in women. Women’s interaction among themselves is an extended metaphor of compensation for the indifference of their social environment. They are themselves fully in their own company. They, therefore, are always hungry of one another’s company. Suleri despite feeing quite happy in abroad, ‘misses the company of women’. When woman fails to find any respectable position in man’s world, she realizes her existence in food rituals that range from day to day routine edibles to sacrificial succulent meat of a goat ‘chopped’ to please God on Eid.
Dadi’s alu ka bhartha and ea provide her an occasion to participate in the family affairs. Otherwise she remains an outcast. The goat to be sacrificed gives Dadi a special privilege to preside over an event to ensure that sne is still, despite everything, head ot the tamily. T religious ritual is a compensatory phenomenon for Dadi’s loss of social significance in the familys domestic life. The chopped animal conveys metaphorically another meaning for Mamma who is unable to understand how chopping animals can please God. She is as much a victim of patriarchy as Dad’.
All the women in themselves are suppressed, silently crumbling under the burden of atriarchy. Dad’ and Mamma are literally left ‘unpraying and untalking. Mamma remains absorbed and abstracted. Mamma and the maid are on opposite extremes of social standing but their suppression is equal. Halima, the maid, laments over her condition that she does not know whether to laugh or weep because one child was dead and another was born and she is at her work one week later. The text does not show her in interaction with any man but she is an obvious victim of patriarchy suffering in silence.
With no child around to share life, Dad’ turns her words to God. She turns to God to nd the twitching haul of loneliness. Religion, therefore, is a means for Dad’ to make life more bearable. The connection to God, talks and prayers, moisturizes the family drought that parches her. “God she loved, and she understood him better than any one” . And while religion helps dadi in her loneliness, food vigorizes her physical mobility . “Food, too, could move her to intensities”. Through food, the Suleri woman derives delight and mobility. Food brings delights. It mobilizes Dad’.
In the first chapter, “Excellent Things in Women,” Dadi speaks for one of the concepts of woman n Suleri’s portrayals of women characters. Sara regards them. She accepts all women in her lives as they are, unique in themselves. Excellent things donot always come out in bigger things. Great womanhood is hid inside them. They dont do great tasks but still they are great. In the story the minute details of women tasks are given. They are doing nothing noble but common difficult tasks are done by them with excellency. Women maintain relationships, They are absorbing. They have so many roles to play. They cope with every difficulty.
Dadii is a very headstrong character. She is feministic in all ways. She has secrets which she tells nobody as in the story sara exclaims “something of dad’ always remained intact, however much we sought to open her”. Dadi experiences death so closely but remains strong and lively until she gets so old and feeble that she stops praying even. Dad’ is not enthusiastic about independence and partition infact she is annoyed, only relations are what is important for her. Dad’ doesnot get importance in lives of her family members when she is alive. Mamma also suffers loneliness as dad’ suffers when sends her son abroad.