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Scholarly Article

Basundhara Chakraborty

Eating Her Way through Crisis: Eating as an act of Defiance in Ismat Chughtai’s The Rock


Ismat Chughtai, agency, defiance, eating, patriarchy


Ismat Chughtai, an iconoclast, throughout her writing career has examined the various modes of patriarchal oppressions that engulfed the lives of women. An ardent critique of the institution of marriage that deprives women of their agency, Chughtai has used her mighty pen to give voice to the pangs of anguish that has remained silent since time unknown. Arguing against the traditional mode of writings which merely reflects the lives of women, Chughtai, in her writings explores “the gestures of defiance or subversion implicit in [the lives of women]” (Tharu & Lalitha 35). The present paper is a close reading of one such narrative of defiance – The Rock. The present paper will do a textual analysis of the short story and discuss how the act of eating, to be more precise, overeating can be interpreted as an act of defiance against patriarchy. The paper will discuss how the patriarchal body politics has subjected female bodies to corporeal disfigurement and the women, in their turn, have resisted the ideologies of the larger social bodies.

About the Author

Baundhara Chakraborty is currently working as a RUSA Project Fellow in the Department of English, Jadavpur University. She is a former M.Phil research scholar in School of Women’s Studies, Jadavpur University. An M.A in English literature from University of Calcutta, her research interests include Feminism, Gender studies, Indian Writing in English, Cultural Studies and Linguistics. She has published research papers with a few reputed UGC-listed journals like The Confidential Clerk, Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Middle Flight, GNOSIS, Daath Voyage and also contributed to a few edited peer-reiewed ISBN volumes like Explorations: Literary and Cultural, Women’s Education in India, Samaj and Sanskriti etc. She may be contacted at

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