In the nineteenth century characterization of women continued to change more rapidly, first protests of women were happening in that time. Tagore’s story “Punishment” was written in the end of nineteenth century, India. Traditions of Hindus were very strict and harsh towards women. I have known about Hindu culture and some their traditions since middle school and when I read this story ” Punishment” , I almost saw a real example from their life.
This story shows how women were dependent on their husbands, women maintained their household (Chandara and Radha), while their husband worked in the fields. I would like to talk about Chandara as a main character of this story and as a representative of woman’s protest, that is how I see her through my eyes.
Chandara was a young girl, “ was not more than seventeen and eighteen” ,” buxom, well-rounded ,compact and sturdy – so trim in her movements”.Chandara and Chidam had good relationship, they loved each other, but Chandara couldn’t trust him wholly , she felt that she could lose him one day. One day when they had a quarrel , I realized how powerful and even cruel man was in his actions towards his wife (”Chidam sprang at her, grabbed her by the hair, dragged her back to the room and locked her”).It seemed that is was normal to do it with a woman in that time. However, Chandara was not quiet and agreed with everything, she had own voice.For example when her husband was threating her that he would break her bones, she said that “the bones will mend again”. I felt like she was not scared at all. After that fight she escaped from her house to her uncle, I think that she was not behaving like a typical Hindu woman was supposed to. Chandara didn’t really listen to her husband. I think she just had that kind of temper and because she was much younger that her husband, she was not wise yet, but at the same time she was not dumb.
The key moment of this story was when Chidam asked her to admit to the murder, she didn’t say anything ,just agreed with him.She decided that it would be better to die than to live with her husband.Why had she done that? I think after what her husband suggested to her, Chidam broke her heart that she didn’t expect him to do. Last quarrel affected her as well, when she run away from him.Yes, she loved him a lot and at the same time she couldn’t take it anymore, she was not satisfied how he treated her. And her last drop of patience was when her husband preferred to rescue his brother ,but put Chandara’s life under a risk. After that she hated him and loved at the same moment, she knew that she wouldn’t leave him, because it was not impossible for a woman in India to get divorced. However, she couldn’t imagine how she would live her whole life with a person, who betrayed her.(“I shall give my youth to the gallows instead of to you. My finals ties in this life will be with them”).Chandara was so broken. Her decision to die was a protest, that she didn’t have an opportunity to make under other circumstances. In that moment she made a choice, probably Chandara had never had one before. Chandara wanted to leave that life and not to suffer anymore with her husband.
Personally, I don’t support her in her choice, but I’m impressed how a young girl made such a hard decision in her life in order to make herself free and punish her husband, who realized what he had done ,but it was too late. I think justice was served, since she made her decision , showed protest and that punished her husband, who lost his wife he really loved and now he would probably be suffering for the rest of his life. I don’t even feel sorry for Chidam ,he deserved it.