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Sunday, August 17, 2008

“An Introduction” By Kamala Das notes for II JPEng students

Some propositions on the poem.

The poem, “An Introduction” by Kamala Das, has strong existentialist moorings proposed by Søren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir. Although it is unlikely that Das has read either Kierkegaard or Satre, it is most likely that she has read The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.

The assertion of the self against the various given social roles, identities and communal demands is an indicator of the existentialist leanings of the poet. The first person narrative of the poem also reinforces the idea of the asserting self. The assertion in terms of the issues and the roles it is rejecting presents the inverted pyramid structure of the poem. The use of the indefinite article ‘An’ in the title is also indicative of the fluid but resisting and self-determining position of the poet.

Here are some interesting write ups on the poem and her poetry in general. Click on the links to go the the specific sites

1. Split-Self And Self Assertion In The Poetry Of Kamla Das

2. Calling Kamala Das Queer: Rereading My Story

3. Kamala Das

4. The Histrionics of Kamala Das

5. IGNOU Interview with Kamala Das




9 comments:

tripa said...

thank u so much it was very useful...

tripa said...

a little MORE info would have helped...

Shimmer said...

im not so sure about the inverted pyramid structure that you've mentioned... i thought it resembled more of an hourglass form... that is, the poem kicks off talking generally, then slipping into the self and towards the end she again encompasses the whole... just a thought...

Anil Pinto said...

Shimmer, Thanks for that thought. Will read the poem closely and rethink my position.

Anonymous said...

what about identities? no post for that?

Anonymous said...

Existentialism is a very broad word and Soren Kierkegaard is very complex. Why do you require all that to respond to Indian poetry. By the looks of it, it appears to me that you are not very well grounded in Philosophy (let alone existentialism); It sounds fashionable to use concepts and categories, but you should be carefull about how you do literature

Anonymous said...

I liked the above comment regarding using concepts and categories eclectically. Weak minds have always fingured Philosophy irresponsibly. Now consider this carefully: In any literature consciousness/selfconsciousness can be found, irrespective of the question of its intensity. This consciousness can be easily equated with "being" and existentialism can be dragged in. In this sense all literature is existentialist! Leave Kierkegard alone, man and do some serious work in Aesthetics if you are really interested in Philosophy.

By the way, Kamala Das, IMHO, was fashionable back in the 70s and 80; not much sense in her anymore. But she continues to be a PhD industry stuff among you university folks!

Anonymous said...

Happened to come by this blog. Am not much of a literature or Philosopny person, having worked on electronic for 32 years in the States. Like I said, can't say much about all this stuff. But one think struck me immediately. This college teacher blog stuff is what is done in the States. Why do you want to copy all that and be called a copy cat? Even over there in the states, good teaching still takes place between the four walls. Blogging is like the old time flashing -- obscene and unacademic. Thanks for your time.

Apurva said...

Good teaching still takes place here between four walls. As long as this blog helps people I don't see any reason for criticizing it.