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In the collection of short stories in Arranged Marriage, the author, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, portrays the theme of keeping secrets in two short stories, Affair and Meeting Mrinal.

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Introduction

English Comparison Essay Arranged Marriage: Affair, Meeting Mrinal: Fragile Women Hiding the Truth November 3rd, 2008 In the collection of short stories in Arranged Marriage, the author, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, portrays the theme of keeping secrets in two short stories, "Affair" and "Meeting Mrinal". The protagonists in these two stories suffer from keeping secrets, particularly with important people in their lives. In the story "Affair", the protagonist, Abha is not able to confront her good friend, Meena and keeps secrets from her. It is most evident in the story where Abha thinks Meena's secret affair has to do with her husband. However, they resolve their problem by telling the truth. In the other story "Meeting Mrinal", the protagonist, Asha, is not able to be truthful and suffers from it until she decides to tell the truth at the end. Fragile women from the story "Affair" and "Meeting Mrinal" suffer from keeping secrets from other characters until they tell each other the truth. Asha's frailty is shown in her idolization of her friend Mrinal and her need for her friend's acceptance. She creates an ideal picture of her friend who "has the perfect existence - money, freedom, admiration and she doesn't have to worry about pleasing anyone." ...read more.

Middle

My nose is broad and honest but by no means elegant, while hers straight and chisel-sharp, looks as through it belonged on an apsara from classical Indian sculpture...I constantly battle the inches that accumulate almost by magic around my hips, while Meena glides through life slim and svelte, eating whatever she wants and wearing designer bikinis." She uses constantly contradicts herself to Meena to show the differences between their appearances and to emphasize Meena's physical beauty. On page 266, Meena says: I was afraid to. I knew you'd be upset. You disapprove of my clothes, even. How could I tell you I'd fallen in love with another man...Perfect at all the things I didn't want to do but knew I should. Like a mother, kind of. I wanted your approval. Needed it. For a long time I told myself, I've got to stay with Srikant. What will Abha say otherwise? to show Abha that she was afraid to tell her the truth and wanted her approval because Abha is like a mother figure to her, by using dictions like afraid, upset, disapprove, mother, and approval. Accordingly, Meena and Asha both seek for approval from their friends. Meena also says to Abha: I couldn't face trying to explain to you- the expression I knew you'd have in your eyes. ...read more.

Conclusion

Like mine is suffocating you. ... We are spiraling towards hate. And hopelessness. That's not what I want for the rest of my lire. Or yours. ... It's better this way, each of us freeing the other before it's too late... so we can start learning, once more, to live. (271) Conversely, Asha who decided to keep secrets attempts suicide in her despair. Parking her car in the garage, she attempts to gas herself with the exhaust. In the end like Abha, Asha accepts help and faces her frailty. She moves forward into a life of truth and self-acceptance instead of false images of perfection. The author, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, depicts the themes of fragility in her two protagonists of her two short stories, "Affair" and "Meeting Mrinal." Both characters show their frailty through the act of keeping secrets from important people in their lives. Protagonists in each story try to hide their important aspects in their lives from people who know the most about them. Both characters seek to gain approval from their friends and show their insecurity through envying their friends' apparent perfections. Both protagonists realize that perfection is impossible to attain and gain self-acceptance. Even though they suffer from attempting to gain perfection and acceptance from their friends and keeping secrets, at last, as they all confess the truth, they find happiness and feel relieved. ...read more.

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