Jul 24, 2011

Girls – A Short Story by Mrinal Pande

The story 'Girls' deals with the way Indian women is treated in our society. it basically tells us the unjustified idolatry of the male child and a woman's sensitive perspective and the hypocrisy of some rituals. it shows us how we treat women in our modern society. the whole story is narrated by an eight year old girl, who is the second daughter of a middle class family. her mother is a very irritable person, as she is going through her fourth pregnancy, and fervently hopes that it's a boy this time.

Reference to Context Questions 
Courtesy Franksons 

1. She turned to me and ordered me to go out and play. I always seemed
to turn up at the wrong time and at the wrong place. As I was leaving
the room, I managed to pick up a piece of the broken surahi which I
enjoyed sucking….. 
(i) Who is “I”? Why do you think her mother asks her to go out and
        In this extract from the story ‘Girls’, written by Mrinal Pande, ‘I’
is the little girl narrating the story. The story has been told in a
child’s perspective which very effectively brings out the Indian
women’s secondary role in the society. 
        The little girl is asked to go out because being a child, she is not
allowed to listen to the dire necessity of Ma to deliver a son-child
this time. In those days a boy-child used to be welcomed because he
would be earning on growing up, look after his old parents and carry
the family name onwards. 
(ii) What has ‘I’ told about her mother’s attitude to her children? 
As far as Ma is concerned, her children are perpetually creating
problems for her, particularly so as they are all girls. If they had
been sons, and even if they gad been naughty, she would not be angry
because sons are considered assets in the Indian families. 
(iii) Where is mother about to go? Why is she going there? 
        The mother is going to her parents’ house. 
        She is going there because she is pregnant and it is a custom in
India for married women to have the baby delivered at their parental
(iv) What hope does she express to Saru’s mother? 
She hopes she will have a son-child this time. Otherwise she will have
to undergo the hassles of another child-bearing, because without a
male child in the family, the family name itself will be lost. Again
it is sons that will be earning, when they grow up, unlike the girls
who will leave the parents after they get married. 
(v)What happens as they get into the train? What does the narrator do? 
        Having got into the train, mother gets preoccupied with minding the
luggage, the wobbling surahi and the three of her children. 
        The narrator, the little girl, spirited as she is, secures a seat
beside the window and sticks her tongue out at every one. She then
chants the alphabets to impress her mother. She crushes a piece of
potato from the samosa she could not eat into the shape of an insect
to frighten her little sister. And she begins to cry when her mother
smacks her for being naughty. 

Long Question (Question Courtesy – Franksons) 
Describe how the narrator is treated by her mother. Does she deserve
the treatment? Is she treated like this because she is a girl and not
a boy?
        The narrator, the little girl-protagonist of the story is treated
unkindly by her mother. The girl, is a sprightly and spirited one like
all children of her age, is naughty and mischievous. However, the
mother, troubled as she is, with apprehensions if she will have a son
or daughter once again this time, targets her middle daughter for
punishments as if being born a girl is an offence. In fact mother is
always scolding her, even beating her, and always referring to her as
a ‘problem’. For example, mother calls her middle daughter a witch as
she innocently asks her (mother) what all Chotti Maasi has to endure.
Again mother can not put up with a mere child’s playful wish to be an
engine. On ignoring her Nanni’s call to put a tika on her forehead,
the narrator faces the wrath of her mother who threatens her with dire
consequences if she (the narrator) does not obey. This is the common
reaction of mothers in the Indian society when she has not been
fortunate enough to have a son-child even after bearing two or three
girl-children. The tradition in the Indian society looks upon a boy
progeny as a prized possession because it is he who will not only
carry the family name but will also earn money to bring prosperity to
the family.
The narrator does not deserve this kind of treatment simply because
she is also a human being with sensibilities and her own rights. It is
a crime to treat girls harshly because they leave the family after
marriage and that the parent has to spend a fortune to marry her off.
A girl, who will soon be growing up into a woman, should enjoy as much
right as a boy – to be treated kindly, educated properly and honoured
as well as a boy.
It is obvious that the narrator is treated like this because she is a
girl and not a boy. The cry of anger and anguish of the little girl is
really the voice of all the girls of the Indian society which makes us
wake up to the fact that we should immediately begin treating the girl-
child with more respect and esteem.


  1. totally of no use

  2. i came here for the summary not this useless waste !

  3. useless damn stupido..

  4. thanx... but can improve!!!!

  5. its not useless waste chinmay, be polite, lets see you doing this yourself, bet you cant make a proper sentence on your own -,- but yes i was hoping for a summary if not an analysis. dissapointing