Navigating Gendered Landscape: The Power of Female Agency in Anuradha Roy’s The Folded Earth
Keywords:Patriarchal oppression, dynamic women, subjugation, agency, autonomy, empowerment.
Women’s agency refers to the faculty of women to make independent choices and take actions based on their own desires, beliefs, and values. However, women's agency is not a uniform experience, as it can be influenced by factors such as race, class, ethnicity, culture, and socio-economic status. Various forms of discrimination and societal barriers can limit women's agency, requiring efforts to address systemic inequalities and create inclusive environments that promote women's autonomy and empowerment. Set in the remote Himalayan town of Ranikhet, Anuradha Roy’s The Folded Earth is an evocative tale that offers a sneak peek into the lives and experiences of the people living in the hills and explores their struggles and challenges. The story is narrated by its protagonist, Maya, a young woman who abandons her family to unite with the love of her life, only to lose him to a snowstorm. She moves to Ranikhet to begin a new life and closely witness the predicaments of the people, particularly women. The novel explores the diverse strands of love, memory, loss, ecological imbalance and its repercussions, capitalist greed, power politics, the patriarchal oppression of women, and the emergence of dynamic women who refuse to be subjugated. The proposed paper seeks to delve deeper into an array of issues faced by women that contribute to their subjugation and explores how the female characters battle the oppression and make a strong comeback by asserting their agency and autonomy, and even acting as an agent in uplifting others.
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