Anjana Appachan's Bahu: A 'New' Bahu. This paper aims to study Anjana Appachan's engagement with cultural determinism in the reconstruction of the female subject in the story Bahu. The shaping of the subject, dictated as it is by the ideology of patriarchy, colonialism, feminism, capitalism and many other isms, calls for a sharp and profound awareness of processes by which certain images of women become fixed, and these in turn are enforced in constructing women's self-representations.
The image making process of stereo-typed middle-class woman as preservers of the spiritual essence of 'Indianness,' which began in the 19th century, continues to the present. Reinforced by history, myth and media, the 'imagined' and the 'invented' images of womanhood as visual cultural symbols gradually became the perceived reality in a continuous process of making and remaking in keeping with the compulsions of the period. However, as Rajeshwari Sunder Rajan emphasizes, --the problems of the 'real' woman cannot lie outside the 'imagined' constructs in and through which woman's subjectivity emerges”. She also stresses the need to resist the homogenized image of 'the new Indian woman' which irons out differences of class, caste, community and language.
The paper aims to show through the narrative the writer's construction of the female subject who is located at the intersections of subjectivity and cultural and traditional codes and norms.
The writer's representation of evolving female subjects, their individual journey towards self-realization, reflects a 'trans-
gender' approach by enjoining literary embellishments and social commitments in constructing the story of self-reliant, purposeful female subjects who are able to step out of their middle class concerns. One hopes that the authority to name and speak for 'others' will assume a more inclusive perspective that will dismantle the presence of unequal structures and prepare the ground for entering into a dialogue with others—be it a husband , a master or a ruler.
Patriarchy, Colonialism, Feminism, Capitalism, the 'imagined' and the 'invented' image, Trans-gender', Fractured identity, Diaspora, Alienation