The conception of Bharati Mukherjee’s short story “The Management of Grief” reveals bureaucratic, social and psychological problems of Indian immigrants living in Canada when coping with the consequences of Air India flight 182 explosion and crash into the Atlantic Ocean close to the Coast of Ireland in 1985, which took the lives of 329 people including a great deal of Indo-Canadians. Recovering after the terrible catastrophe and loss of families and beloved people in Mukherjee’s story is intensified and deepened by describing of fundamental differences between Indian and Canadian culture. In Mukherjee’s representation of the problem and the resulting transformation of the majority of characters we can see literal changes of them from an immigrant with limited rights and opportunities, to an exile perspective, more ethnically and politically advanced. The story is told, except some little fragments in the closing paragraphs, in first-person and in present tense. Because of this, it lets us see the situation through the characters actions and emotions. The narrator, Mrs. Shaila Bhave, who lost in the plane crash her husband and two sons, can not tell us directly this is how the loss of my children and husband changed me, this is how I am overcoming my sorrow, here are the lessons Ive learned, et cetera.
The short story, whist difficult to define, has a number of common traits which can be attributed to each story. John Bowland admits: “In truth there have been hundreds of efforts to define this most elusive and tantalising of fictional forms.” Whilst it can be claimed the short story genre is impossible to classify, attempts include that of Pritchett, who believes: “The novel tells us everything, ...
We are captured in the moment with the narrator, a first-person account of a woman who lost her whole family, and as she begins to feel something, begins to understand something, we can experience that feeling, that understanding, together with her, instead of having to try and imagine them by reading an analysis offered up from some temporal remove. The beginning describes how many Indians in the country were dealing with deaths in their families. Naturally it goes slow and very sad because of misery of these deaths. After getting round from the first shock, Shaila and her neighbor, Kusum, and a friend, Dr. Ranganathan go to Ireland to see the lake in which the passengers died and to feel close to the bodies. Four days after the catastrophe, Shaila finds herself at a bay near where the tragedy happened.
Public speculations of what had really brought the plane to abruptly blow up took place, but nothing was officially confirmed or found out. One of the most probable reasons was considered to have been a bomb exploded in the plane. Kusums family suffered with the disaster too, because her husband and one of her daughters were also on board that flight. Shaila looks at Kusum squatting on this rock which jutted out into the water of the ocean, and she thought that this would probably the closest she would get to her family. In expressive emotional and despairing raise Shaila runs into the water of the lake hoping to reach her sons and husband. She wishes to herself I could settle in this water, and my husband would take my hand and the boys would slap water in my face just to see me scream. ( Mukherjee, 528).
The function of the journey to Ireland is a picture of transition from the feeling of rejection of the tragic death of her family in a plane crash to the slow acceptance of reality and trying to obtain closure on the terrible event.
“Acceptance,” according to the narrator, “means you speak of your family in the past tense and make active plans for moving ahead with your life.” ( Mukherjee, 530).
Very descriptive in comparison with indifference and reluctance of Canadian government were Irish people expressing sympathy and giving flowers to widowed Indians, for what they found appreciation. Kusum considers that it was the destiny of the people on that airplane to die there, and so they died. She begins looking for help and support from a swami in Toronto to overcome this terrible time. Shaila and Kusum accompanied by four other widowers are chosen to spend the day away from the hospital where the relatives of the victims (as they are now called) are supposed to wait for the photographs of the dead bodies and remains found after the crash can be exposed to them to be recognized, they have to declare the remains of the dead as the remains of their dead relatives and can take them back to India to bury. Being among the people in mourn and dole, Shaila feels ashamed of herself as she can not bewail and grieve as all the others do. She is angry at her calm and says By the standards of the people you call hysterical, I am behaving very oddly and very badly, ( Mukherjee, 529).
The word family is often looked as a relationship between biological parents and their children. It typically consists of a mother, a father, and one or more kids. But in this day and age, things are changing and the word family now has many variations. Families now can consist of single parents, same-sex parents, and step-parents as well. There is no longer such a thing as a standard family, but ...
This artificial calm in her soul is a result of using Valium, a drug prescribed to her by her doctor so that she can deal with the situation better.
Kusum does not use drugs to calm down; she receives psychological therapy from her swami and says that it is egotistical to grieve the death of the loved ones as they went to a better world. Dr. Ranganathan, a friend and one of the widowers, in his conversation with Shaila says Its a parents duty to hope, after he hears Shaila and Kusums dialog about Shailas fourteen year old son, Vinod being an excellent swimmer and even had medals. Under the effect of medicines, Shaila is fantasizing that maybe her older son swam to a close by island and also took his younger brother along with him, just incase they were alive. Shaila sets Vinods pocket calculator, her younger son Mithuns plane model and a poem of hers dedicated to her husband telling him how miserable she is after they left her, afloat on the water of the lake. After that they all return to the hospital, where photographs finally appeared and people have to look through really horrifying pictures to identify someone. Shaila could not recognize anyone of her family there.
Kusum received the bodies of her husband and daughter and decided to take them to India where they will be buried with the proper ceremonies. Together with Shaila they fly to India and take the same flight with hopes to recover from the sorrow and begin a new life. In India Shaila is the only daughter of rich parents. They insist of her staying with them asking her why she would go back to Canada to live there in coldness and loneliness. Shaila travels across the holy places for pilgrims, where she is looking for consolation. She describes how many of the widowers are forced by their families to remarry, mostly against their desires.
Every story that was conceived from the mind of Edgar Allan Poe contained a part of himself on each page. This left the reader with a better understanding of Poe's life. Through his stories and pomes Poe displayed his greatest achievements and his worst disappointments. In this research paper I will reveal facts about Poe's life and define hidden meanings throughout his works. Edgar Allan Poe was ...
Shaila herself feels she should stay loyal to her husband, Vikram. In six months after her coming to India she sees the illusion of her husband in a small temple, who is performing a ritual. Vikram tells her to be back to Canada and finish alone what we started together. ( Mukherjee, 532).
Shaila makes up her mind to go to Canada much against her parents will. She continues her lonesome life and begins helping the families of the tragedy victims.
The ending line of the story, when she walks through the park and she hears her family say your time has comego, be brave ( Mukherjee, 536), is dramatically illustrative: she runs because she knows she has to do something in order to fulfill what was left in her heart. After analyzing the plot we can see, that the story centers almost only on dealing with the death of loved ones and the grief that is associated with it, this story focused more on the feelings of the people involved, and not the event itself. Bharati Mukherjee made the subject come to life by featuring the emotions of different characters in the story. The main theme of it is that everybody handles grief in their own way and in their own instant frame. Furthermore, this story illustrates how ones culture, traditions and way of life can have an influence on how one tries to overcome that grief. The main characters of the story are Indian and it shows a different viewpoint of coping with loss of any sort.
Although the grief was the same to everyone, the reactions to it, the strength and ability to overcome that reality were strictly based on individual behaviors and social doctrines. It was more than facing the death of beloved person. It was about accepting the concept death, in the very life. Story is also exceptionally successful in showing the common stages of psychological reactions of different people, from initial denial and rejection through despair and depression, then to acceptance and recovering, starting of new beginnings. It was the very outline of human grief, to learn how to hold on to life when death appears near. In the story Bharati Mukherjee doesnt concentrate on the grieving of one personality, but describes how various characters grieved.
Life, Death, and Continuous Change (Three themes prevalent in Terry Wolverton's Mystery Bruise) What is this that takes the immoral, the wicked, and the weak? What is this that takes the righteous and the strong. We have referred to it as our end, departure, extinction, impending doom, eternal rest, last sleep, and most certainly our final summons -at least, as far as known life is concerned-. The ...
Shaila tried to control her outward emotions using Valium, while Kusum couldnt go on with her life in Canada and ended up moving to India. Kusums daughter, Pam, dealt with the deaths another way by basically ignoring the tragedy. Shortly after the catastrophe, Pam seemed more concerned about making her mother to look presentable for the television reporters than anything else. So repeatedly, it looks like the story only looks deeply at one character, but in fact it goes much beyond that. When talking about death, a subject is quite heavy and hard to talk or write about. A great merit of the author is that writing is very vivid and dramatic; it is easy for a reader to envision different parts of the story including the gathering of family and friends in Shailas home, the relatives of the victims in Ireland looking to identify their lost ones, and even the pictures of catastrophe itself.
In the story we can see the various duties people carry out during a time of despair. The plane crash was a really terrible crisis and the management of grief was not the reality that anybody was prepared to face. Accepting the loss of a loved one is a very difficult state in life, I think, Shaila overcame the tragedy of deaths of her family very well because she was a very strong woman, and she was not alone. She also had to struggle through the stages of coping with her distress and misery. From different angles, this story demonstrates ironies of social and governmental intervention with an Indian immigrant population after the terrible plane crash. This is a very considerate, touching and poignant story; it is about moving on and starting over; it is a multifaceted investigation of not only grief, but of a great deal of cultural and social issues as well. REFERENCES 1. Ann Charters (University of Connecticut) The Story and Its Writer an Introduction to Short Fiction Sixth Edition. ISBN 0312397291 (2003): 1801 pp 2.
Carchidi, Victoria. “‘Orbiting’: Bharati Mukherjee’s Kaleidoscope Vision.” MELUS 20.4 (1995): 91-101. 3. Dave, Shilpa. “The Doors to Home and History: Post Colonial Identities in Meena Alexander and Bharati Mukherjee.” Amerasia Journal 19.3 (1993): 103-13. 4. Wickramagamage, Carmen. “Relocation as Positive Act: The Immigrant Experience in Bharati Mukherjee’s Novels.” Diaspora 2.2 (Autumn 1992): 171-200.
Bharati Mukherjee works her writing in an original, imaginative style. She uses great method in her symbolism and metaphorical artistry. All of what Mukherjee writes about stems from her intimate knowledge and experience in the culture and traditions of India. She takes the grasp that she has on the har*censored*ies of her country and puts them into a form that people all over can understand. She ...
5. Vignisson, Runar. “Interview with Bharati Mukherjee.” Online. Internet. 22 March 1998..