Abstract : The German writer Gunter Grass’ reflections on the fairy tale “The Fisherman and His Wife” in his bulky novel Der Butt is a vivid portrayal of the status of women from the time immemorial to the present period. The narrative present in Der Butt traces the state of women from the age old matriarchy to the patriarchy following it up to the present period of women’s emancipation and lesbianism. Grass also tries to get at the root cause of the incurable gender bias by reflecting on the negative impact of the popular fairy tale “The Fisherman and His Wife”. Grass unearths the unnoticed contribution of women in the history of matriarchy and patriarchy by way of overcoming the food crisis and sustaining human life, while ambitious men in the patriarchy went on killing one another in the name of battles and wars in order to plunder and grab more and more lands and expand their empires.
Keywords: myths, fairytales, misogyny, matriarchy, patriarchy,
status of women, stone age women,women’s emancipation, matriarchy, sustaining human life
The postwar German writer Gunter Grass was born on the 16th of October 1927 in a petit bourgeois family in the suburb Langfuhr in Danzig lying at the mouth of the river Vistula that joins the sea. The river, the sea and the fishing villages left a lasting impression on Grass. Following the end of the war, Danzig which used to experience unprecedented changes in its history, was lost to Germany again. In almost all his novels he criticises, in particular, the teachers of history in Germany, for limiting themselves to the mere boring ‘facts and figures’ in history books. The teachers in Germany, in his opinion, are mainly responsible for misleading his generation to turn into budding Nazis: the teaching class failed to take a firm political stand of their own; they merely swam along with the prevalent political currents. According to Grass, a keen sense of history is indispensable for resisting the repetition of the errors in the history of Germany. Therefore, his writings focus mainly on such themes as peace, tolerance, freedom etc. However, he does not deal with such themes in a direct manner like the usual socio- political writers. It is to be noted that it was necessitated by the times alone to strongly incline towards socio-political engagement; deep inside himself he remains, however, an incurable, inborn, deeply contemplative writer with a unique artistic talent. 1 Therefore, it is not the symptoms of the socio-political ailments he is interested in fighting, on the other hand their root cause. For this purpose, he scans through, above all, ancient myths and fairy tales. In short, it is with a strong sense of history he approaches the socio-political issues of his time; thereby he tries to enlighten the readers on the partial or wrong knowledge imparted by the ‘facts and figures’ in history books. He goes on writing novels, as if an incurable obsession, whereby his perspective expands from the place of his birth and childhood memories i.e., Langfuhr to countries like Indonesia, Thailand, China and India. It is scarcely surprising that Grass was the Nobel Laureate for Literature in the year 1999.
Let us now turn to Grass’ reflections on the fairy tale “The Fisherman and His Wife” in his bulky novel Der Butt2 published for the first time in 1977.
Grass mentions in the novel the “Hessian, Flemish, Alsatian, and Silesian variants of the story -…” and “…an extremely interesting Latvian version-…” (44). The misogynistic fairy tale, he notes, has parallels as far as in Africa and India (41). He also narrates in the novel this misogynistic tale (20).
The narrative present in Der Butt traces the contributions as well as the status of women from the last three thousand years of the six thousand year old matriarchy to the patriarchy following it up to the present period of women’s emancipation and lesbianism (47). It is to highlight the greatness of women to the pregnant Ilsebill – a woman of today – who however longs for a male child, does her husband i.e., the fictive narrator who identifies himself with Grass, undertake this historical survey. Grass tries to get at the root cause of this incurable gender bias by reflecting on the negative impact of the world-widely popular fairy tale “The Fisherman and His Wife”. Thereby Grass unearths the unnoticed contribution of women in the history of matriarchy and patriarchy by way of overcoming the food crisis and sustaining human life, while ambitious men in the patriarchy went on killing one another in the name of battles and wars in order to plunder and grab more and more lands and expand their empires (518-519). According to Grass, 3 as is expressed in this novel too, “hunger, too, is war” (521).
Grass begins with the Stone Age women in the matriarchy in the surroundings of the river Vistula that joins the sea. The inhabitants of this region were known as Pomeranians, meaning ‘people by the sea’; later on they were called the Kashubians.
In the early Stone Age i.e., Paleolithic phase we come across the three-breasted Superawa. She ruled by tender motherly loving care; with her three breasts she could afford to suckle men like children. In the icy climate, food was rare; therefore, she commanded her primal horde to eat every bit of her when she dies; such was her concern to ensure the availability of food. With the passage of time, she began to be worshipped as a goddess.
Like Superawa, the women of the following times too were three- breasted; they too were tender, caring and loving. They were all called Awa, and they looked alike in everyway. All the men were called Edek, and they too looked alike: incest was self-evident. Because of the healthy natural food, milk gushed into Stone Age women (10). Like Superawa, they too suckled men like children “until they sweated out their obsessions, stopped fidgeting, and became sleepily still, available for just about anything” (9). Breasts thus exercised their food-appeal, and not sex appeal to men.
Like incest, matriarchy also practised polyandry; and it never entered men’s heads to single out any particular woman as special; they were never mad about any woman. By the same token there was neither any hatred (259). And undoubtedly their Superawa would have tabooed such mad love between men and women, if it had ever cropped up among them (259). Thus, even after the period of Superawa and Awa, for many centuries, love did not explode its limits and turn mad to transfigure them (261).
Since no special events ever took place, it was a pleasantly history- less age.
The fictive narrator comments: “three breasts are more, or at least they look it; they look like more and more: they suggest super abundance, advertise generosity, give eternal assurance of a full belly…” (5).
Not only related to breasts, but also related to the male sex organ, we find this urge for ‘more’: “In our region, to the east of the river, Potrimpos, who became a god of the Prussians along with Pikollos and Perkunos, was said to have three testicles”(5). This urge for ‘more’ can be seen in other pagan cultures also, but in respect of other organs: “Other goddesses – the Indian Kali, for instance – had four or more arms…I’ve even seen gods represented with a third eye in their forehead” (5-6). Immediately Grass also points to the Amazons who went to the other extreme by reducing their breasts to one; this reminds Grass of the trend among today’s feminists (6).
The sexual fire of Stone Age women then merges into one with the real fire on the basis of a myth:
In our early myths there was no fire.… So a woman climbed up by the rain bow and found the Sky Wolf lying beside the primal fire… The woman lay down with him, and he tested her pouch with his wolf’s member until he was all worn out and fell asleep on her flesh…she let his tester slip out of her pouch … sprang to her feet …Then she took three glowing bits of charcoal from the primal fire and hid them in her pouch… (52)
It is to be noted, that Awa hid only three bits of glowing charcoal from the primal fire.
The old wolf then woke up, for he must have heard the fire consuming his seed, and he cursed:
“The primal fire will make its mark at the opening of your pouch, and the mark will leave a scar. Your scar will itch and itch. And because it itches, you will wish for someone to come and take the itch away. And when it does not itch, you will wish for someone to come and make it itch”. (52-53)
Awa did not wish to commit a crime against nature by giving birth to a monster. But, as the wolf cursed, she was punished with the urge to demand ‘more and more’ sex.
From now onwards the horde was no more allowed to sacrifice to the Sky Wolf, but to the young Heavenly Elk Bull (53). Thus, it can be inferred, that Awa had been appreciating and entertaining the wolf till he turned old. But the infant-like men of the period were too naive to grasp the reason behind the change in worship now.
With the three bits of glowing charcoal stolen from the primal fire Awa then began to cook; she is called the ‘first cook’ in the novel. Thus, the horde need not eat raw food any more. In the icy climate fire kept them warm too. And Awa strictly prohibited the diversion of fire for any purpose other than cooking and keeping oneself warm.
For Awa it was a taboo to exceed the number three; therefore, when an Edek scratched in the sand a five-fold eel trap, she exploded in wrath: “The basic value, three, as established by Awa and her breasts, could not be exceeded”(22). Therefore, no one could count below or above three, but only in between (5). Likewise, she flew into a rage, when Edek scratched in the sand a flounder, for she had never seen such a fish before; something not seen, according to her, could not exist, and as such a mere invention and untrue (22). But she admired Edek when he drew her picture with the three breasts.
Women were far advanced, when it came to the knowledge of impregnation, for they got the opportunity to watch animals closely, at the very latest, by the time they began to domesticate them. But men remained quite ignorant in this respect, for “Awa keeps saying that she and the elk cows do it all by themselves. With may be a little help from the full-ripened moon. She says we Edeks and elk bulls have nothing to do with it” (55). Women kept this knowledge to themselves, “allegedly for their (men’s) own good” (45). The rich imaginative power in men and the resultant inclination towards artistic creativity are to be inferred as a conscious/unconscious urge of compensation for the inability to create their own kind in the manner of women.
Then, towards the third millennium before the incarnation of Lord, i.e., on May 3, 2211 B.C, probably a Friday, an event occurred, “which later, for reasons of patriarchal self-affirmation, was falsified, twisted into a fairy tale” that ‘still sends women against the wall’ (23). That day, a Flounder ‘forced’ his way into Edek’s eel trap improvised by Awa. Edek thought immediately of bringing the Flounder to Awa. But then the Flounder, a sapient one, began to talk in his dialect:
“I know I taste good … It’s flattering to be considered tasty. All the same, I’m sure my offer to serve forever as an adviser to you, that is, to the male cause, outweighs my culinary value. In short, my son: set me free and I will come whenever you call me … You, an artist, able in your affliction to set down signs and symbols, a man in quest of enduring, meaning-charged form, must realise that my timeless promise is worth more than a few mouthfuls of baked fish”. (24)
In this context, we have to note, how the primal artist Edek could visualise the form of a flounder even before he saw it in reality; it is also to be noted, an artist is emphasised as a ‘man’; we should bear here in mind, that Grass who criticises the narrow perspective of the teaching class in Germany, considers a writer like Alfred Döblin to be the ‘pedagogue of not only teachers, but also the nation in the widest sense’, for he can visualise future.4
Impressed by the Flounder talking in a manner Edek had never heard anyone talking before, he set him free. The Flounder felt obliged, for he knew that he would never have been set free, if a woman had caught him, who understood only the meaning of hunger (46).
It is information collected from the Flounders all over the world that the Flounder supply Edek, which however equipped him with the skill to invent things on his own. But, first of all, the Flounder had to prepare Edek for absorbing knowledge; therefore, he advised: “My advice to you: away from the breast. Wean yourselves. That’s it, my son, at long last you must wean yourself!”(33)
The Flounder then, with the passage of centuries, began to give a lecture on the ‘higher’ uses of fire: “Fire is idea and future… Like Prometheus you must take possession of fire. Don’t content yourself with being a fisherman, my son; become a blacksmith” (26); he added: “Fire is masculine thought and action in one” (51).
Thus, Edek began to feel the strong urge to put an end to Stone Age; and this marked the beginning of the later “masculine cruelties”(10). Men began to make copper ax, blades and a few metal spearheads to exhibit boastfully. The women at first “shuddered” and giggled as they touched the new material. The word “shuddered” exposes their power to sense the future dangers of such inventions. Edek then started taking orders for ornaments. But then Awa flew into a rage and threatened to withhold the breast. Therefore, we have to infer, that women considered ornaments, which are scarcely of any practical use, as something to be prohibited as they could cause unnecessary rivalries. And the clever Flounder, unlike the still immature Edek, noticed Awa hiding a knife for use in the kitchen; therefore, he shouted to the desperate Edek who approached: “It’s time for you men to cut loose!
…With the kitchen knife. Kill her, my son. Kill her!”(27). But men did not have the heart to do such a cruelty, for their women were ever- loving. (In the course of centuries, men slowly began to ‘mark the evidence of their passage in history with traces of fire’ (461)).
Since Awa, as an embodiment of nature, was ‘the sum of knowledge and could stop the passage of time’ (27), she indefatigably thought up new ritualistic pretexts to control men from exceeding the limits in the use of fire: “Perhaps to deter us Edeks from further use of fire … Awa taught me to knead clay…, I baked not only bowls and pots…but also primitive little art works.” (28) Awa could sense the indispensability of diverting the creative urge in Edek from mankind- destroying inclinations; but such art works had to project only her image with the three breasts.
The Flounder then advised Edek to learn the numbers beyond
“Counting leads to calculation. And calculation leads to planning…Practice your figures in secret and the women won’t be able to out reckon you later on. Soon you’ll be able to measure time and to date events. Soon you’ll be exchanging counted things for counted things. Tomorrow or the day after you’ll get paid, and you in turn will pay, pay, pay. First with shells but then in spite of Awa, though perhaps long after Awa, with metal coins”. (28-29)
The Flounder gave a lecture on the unique weapon of script too:
Then, on a pre-historic day, as the Flounder felt, that Edek had matured enough, he narrated, how King Minos’s wife lusted for her husband’s bull, and how a genius named Daedalus made her a disguise of cowhides, whereupon she was mightily mounted. (96) The Flounder then underlined, that this happening which resulted in the Minotaur and other myths, was not to be taken as an incident of purely local importance, since others too could learn a useful lesson from it. (96)
On the instructions of the Flounder, Edek then made a convincing disguise of elk skins cut to Awa’s measure and tried to arouse her interest in the bull with prurient stimulus words; but she had ‘no desire to make myths’ and flew into a rage and smashed all the pottery elk puzzles (97); that is why, it is noted, that “our region has yielded no phallic idols” (97). Awa’s cry of “no” here is underlined: “With three suckling breasts, she was sufficient unto herself…No, she cried, no, thus inventing a word with a future” (97). As an embodiment of nature, she could sense the possible dangers of stimulating such a sex violating the limits set by nature.
But the suggestion behind the art form then began to slowly take its effect on her: “…later on …Awa did let herself be mounted by an elk bull. In the moonlight …A young bull with a white hide…His hoofs on her shoulders …Then everything fitted, nothing was impossible…Heard Awa cry out as never before” (99). As a budding artist Edek wanted to preserve this image of Awa in a state of supreme bliss.
Not much later Awa gave birth to a four-breasted girl with the equipment of an elk cow. Thereupon she killed her with a stone ax crying: “No!…” … Let’s not overdo it. Three are enough. Who knows what the little wench would do later on. No crimes against nature…” (99). Therefore, three was still retained as the limit.
Then Awa ordered the men to kill the white elk bull to prevent further crimes against nature. And they ate the crisp-roasted young flesh without knowing the secret. But the artist Edek, who spotted the ‘unique’ union, got enlightened at last and started looking for a word for “father” (99). It was now at last, and now only, did it at last dawn on Edek the ‘cause and effect’. The Flounder had been waiting two millenniums to gain this knowledge for men, for if he had right away explained, they wouldn’t have understood (55). It was towards the end of the Neolithic phase in Stone Age i.e., some two millenniums before the incarnation of Lord.
Self-awareness was born to men and they began to feel equal to women; the first quarrel between Awa and Edek then took place over his claim to at least three of her nine kids, for the Flounder had advised: “Fostered by male vigour, a high culture has spread from Mesopotamia
… to the island of Crete…Hordes and clans join…Empire…Beget a son. Hand down property. Your suckling time has lasted two thousand years too long, two thousand years of waste and stagnation” (32-33). But Awa was scarcely ready to let Edek share claims over her children. Edek lost (3-4).
One day, Edek who was feeling a sort of growing restlessness, took the risk of reaching the neighbouring Germanic horde crossing Kashubia without seeking the consent of Awa. The Germanics were a bit advanced horde in respect of weapons. Awa, to Edek’s great astonishment, soon entered into friendly relations with this horde; and exchange of men soon became customary. But with some of the Ewas – the women of the Germanic horde were called Ewas and men Ludeks – the Edeks could not ‘do’ it. Worst of all, their Awas “came empty”; frustration raised its head: “…a man’s cock is a plain nuisance, an obtrusive stranger, a bothersome appendage between his legs. And so we experienced failure (and the idiotic shame a man feels when he’s a flop)” (65). Consequently, it came to blows between Edeks and Ludeks. The relatively ‘manly’ man in the Germanic horde i.e., Lud made fun of Edek’s ceramic articles, while the latter ridiculed the former’s stone twats asking: “couldn’t …think of anything else?”(65). The rivalry between Edeks and Ludeks turned visible. But Awa and Ewa soon saw to that, that they gradually merged into a clan.
The urge in Edek to become like the sexually virulent Germanic men then began to slowly gain momentum. In the course of centuries, as Edek’s artistic talents developed to its fullness, he succeeded in moulding clay into a life-sised image of himself, but with an extra penis growing out of each buttock, “so he could have pleasured three Awas at once” (68.) On a moonless night, the Edeks secretly stationed this monstrosity outside. The Awas took the ‘super-Edek’ for real. Some of the women, who were pregnant, screamed, for miscarriages occurred. Worst of all, the third breast fell off like a wart to simply disappear forever (68). We have to infer, that the artist Edek thus knowingly or unknowingly succeeded in enlightening women on the dangers of polygamy from having ‘super-Edeks’; above all, he could also enlighten on the danger of miscarriages such a powerful sexual stimulation could bring about. Awas, who were so possessive about children, would never have risked it again. With this incident, the man-woman relationship began to slowly get ruptured of its mother-son bond.
Thus, it is when the artist Edek saw his artistic depiction of the boosted image of himself with three penises proving its effect, does the third breast disappear; Edek has thus grown enough now to realise his unrealizable dreams in art and to exercise control over the power structures in matriarchy in a subtle manner. It is to be noted, that we do not come across any woman artist in the novel.
Then it turned out, that the third breast had been a mere male dream for ‘more’. Because Wigga in the Iron Age i.e., the ‘second cook’ in the still living artist Edek’s life, in a series of major campaigns, forbid men to any more chew the root of the wishing weed, which they used to chew for thousands of years. She exterminated it calling it a public enemy (69) and poison (78). This root used to ‘brighten their dreams, assuage their fears, and appease their yearnings’, so that they never knew exactly what they desired (69). The male urge for ‘more than three’ thus did not raise its head much till this time. In fact, Wigga took such a harsh step because of the cold agricultural reality and periods of hunger when men were needed to take up the drudgery of farming; by this time food habits had to change with the changes in climate. Men protested only feebly to Wigga’s measures because of the still strong memory of the third breast (69). And despite the lost breast, she “went right on tyrannising men with…loving care” (69-70). Since men were leaving the world of dreams to enter the cold world of reality, they saw Wigga standing with “two plain, ordinary tits” (69). The unsuckled men then began to feel jumpy like the Germanic men.
It took centuries, for men to at last build ‘the prison of marriage’ and ascertain fatherhood (166-167). The Flounder then wanted to impose a till then unheard of version of ‘love’ in the man-woman relationship by sublimating their purely instinctual sex-conditioned mutual affinity in a higher love to keep her under control: “… the woman’s dependence on the never attained certainty that he loves her, still loves her, loves her and nobody else, becomes a lifelong anxiety …then alone will matriarchy be defeated, will the conquering phallic symbol overturn all uvular idols …” (263). Because, such a love would disrupt the solidarity of women, for “the other woman” would be poisoned, strangled or punctured with knitting needles (263). Thus, the female instinctual urge for ‘more and more’ sex got now brainwashed into demanding ‘more and more’ love; the ‘prison of marriage’ based on the illusion of love thus could check the reversal to polyandry.
By this time men had established themselves as men in the floundrian sense: in the place of the Edeks who all looked alike, we have now a diversity:
Methodical men, banded together in male orders. Thunder- hurling hair-splitters. Discoveries in spite of themselves.
Heroes who would never never under any circumstances have consented to die in bed. Hard-lipped men …come-what- may men … men with principles who invented their own enemies… (33)
Yet, men saw themselves in the end “in the mirror of irony” (33), for they could not still ascertain their fatherhood free of doubts.
All the while, despite the decline of matriarchy and the establishment of patriarchy, women continued to look for ways and means to fight the problem of hunger on which even the Great Leap Forward in China and the principle of the free market in Germany failed to lay emphasis. The working class men began to drink to forget their failures and complexes in the midst of a society with worsening unequal distribution of wealth; but women like Lena, who is called the ‘seventh cook’ in the still living Edek’s life, suffered everything with the instinctual understanding a woman has for a man :
Lena … because social conditions were what they were, because I dealt blows when drunk … because I couldn’t stand Lena’s pity, her way of understanding everything and putting up with it in silence, because I couldn’t stand the knowledge she kept to herself, all that merciless kindness and selfless forbearance any more, because my last vestige of pride, my cock refused to bestir itself … (420)
Finally, when history enters the era of women’s emancipation, the Flounder, who has been misguiding men till now, wants to take the side of women criticising men’s abuse of power (149). Thus, the Flounder turns out to be “nothing but a shitty Germanist!” (253) who believed only in his reason, and not in myths (54).5 However, the fact cannot any more be denied that it is the Flounder, with his knowledge of script, who is responsible for concocting a misogynistic twist to the popular oral version of the fairy tale to provide the propagandists of patriarchy with a talking point: “…the cliché about the eternally discontented woman who keeps wanting more and more rammed down her throats. The relentless consumer. Just one more fur coat. Her craving for that allegedly noiseless dishwasher. The hard-as-nails career woman, lusting after higher and higher positions” (44). The Flounder, however, criticises the present-day women for following the male mindset in the patriarchy:
“Did the women voters say a massive ‘no’ when
…rearmament was decreed? … they resigned themselves to
the perpetuation of this male-ordained madness. And even when women have gained political influence or power, they have always–from Madame Pompadur to Golda Meir and Indira Gandhi-conducted their politics in the Procrustean bed of the male historical consciousness … “ (522-523)
The Flounder then has to at last admit to the women the nature- imposed inferiority of men, which had been what forced men, in fact, to defy the limits set by nature: “It’s an old story, dear ladies. Women conceive, bear, suckle, rear…All they (men) can conceive is absurd ideas. And all they bear is arms. The fruits of their labour are things like … the diesel engine, the theory of relativity …” (396).
The Flounder highlights still another reason for men’s inferiority and the resultant urge to outdo nature: “Women have no need to worry about immortality, because they embody life; men, on the other hand, can only survive outside themselves, by building a house, planting a tree, doing a deed, falling gloriously in battle …” (397).
The image of the “full belly” of the breastfed contented men in Stone Age and the pot-bellied Flounder, pregnant with ‘information’, speak themselves for the conscious/unconscious male compensation- mania.
As we can infer from the present novel, it is the suppressed instinctual urges in men and women, and the resultant inevitable battles between them that knowingly/unknowingly compel them to seek ‘more and more’ pleasures in material things. And it is the Flounder alone who is responsible for de-naturing men and women by inciting them to explode the limits set by nature; the Flounder is, in fact, a pedagogue in disguise (253).
The pregnant Ilsebill in the narrative present of the novel, who has been listening to the greatness of women in the course of history, still feels utterly disappointed when she finally gives birth to a female child.
Throughout the novel Grass connects, in a subtle manner, the gradually changing status of women and men in the course of matriarchy and patriarchy with the shift from the cult of Supermother i.e., Superawa in paganism to the worship of Virgin Mary in Catholicism, and then to the worship of her Son in Protestantism. The associated developments in the political history of Germany too get interspersed.
Grass explains in detail under the subtitle “The other truth” (345-354) the inspiration for writing the present novel based on the fairy tale “The Fisherman and His Wife”: an old woman, who lived on the small island Oehe, narrated to the 18th century German painter Philipp Otto Runge two versions of the fairy tale; when she was asked, which of the versions was right, she replied: “The one and the other” (349). “The other” is the version as it existed in the oral tradition in matriarchy; “the one” is the version as it exists in the written tradition in patriarchy. But, Sophie the cook who was listening to the two opposing versions said that only the one truth was right: “It was the men and no one else who wanted more and more. They’re to blame for all the trouble!” cried Sophie, slamming her fist down on the bread (354). The danger of publishing the “other truth” then turned quite obvious. Therefore, Runge burned the “other truth” to ashes.
But Grass decided to excavate the “other truth” in his own manner by going deep into the unspoken layers in the history of Germany from the perspective of its socio-political manifestations, precipitated by the possible invisible vibrations of the misogynistic version published by the Grimm brothers in Germany in the 18th century.
The fictive narrator i.e., Grass observes towards the end of the bulky novel: “Fairy tales only stop for a time, or they start up again after the end. The truth is told, in a different way each time” (545).6
(*translation: The Flounder)
1 Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, Books of the Times In: New York Times,
2 Quoted according to the Edition: Gunter Grass, The Flounder, ( New Delhi: 1979).
3 http://www.nobel.se/literature/laureates/1999/lecture-g.html in his speech at the prise winning ceremony Grass remembers Willy Brandt’s speech at the UN who claimed “Auch Hunger ist Krieg!” (translation: “Hunger too is war!”).
4 Gunter Grass, Über meinen Lehrer Alfred Döblin und andere Vorträge, Berlin 1968.
5 cf. p.1.
6 The Malayalam novel Chemmeen ( translation: Shrimp) (1956) based on the life of the fisher community in the coast of Alleppey – written by Thakazi Sivasankara Pillai (born in 1914) in the village Thakazi near the coast of Alleppey – highlights the fisherman Chemban Kunju’s blind greed for a life of luxury, while his daughter Karuthamma longs to live and die like the countless ordinary fisherwomen on the shore in the past.
S. SHANTA KUMARI. Is Chairman, Board of Studies, Comparative Studies, University of Calicut.