The Bamboo Blind by Seema Jena

In The Bamboo Blind by Seema Jena we have the theme of marriage, control, equality, patriarchy, freedom, acceptance, paralysis and escape. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator it becomes clear to the reader from the beginning of the story that Jena may be exploring the theme of marriage. Razia and Razak are married and Razia is unhappy. The life she lived with her mother and father is being mirrored by her life with Razak. He too controls Razia and she doesn’t like it but appears to be too timid to say anything. Originally Razia wanted to escape the life she lived with her parents and expected a move to England to be exciting and freeing. Unfortunately this is not the case for Razia. If anything throughout the story women are controlled by men. Something that is noticeable when Razia is forced to leave school and work with her grandmother.

Any sense of freedom or equality between the sexes is lost and Razia lives her life behind a bamboo blind. This may be significant as it suggests that Razia is cut off from the outside world. In reality she is not in control of her life. Something that is more noticeable when Razak is chosen to be her husband. There is also a sense that Razia is not marrying for love but rather to escape the control of her family. Though things do not go as planned for Razia. Razak is rarely home and if he is not at work he goes to the public house every evening. It is as though Razak is living the life of a single man even though he is married. He even goes as far as putting Razia off the idea of going to the public house.

There may also be some symbolism in the story which might be important. The bamboo blind serves to keep everyone in their place. To ensure that the outside world cannot effect those who are living in the house. The marriage to Razak, as mentioned, is a convenience for Razia who wants to escape her environment. Little does she know that she will not be accepted by Razak’s family, particularly Razak’s sisters? Who are mean to Razia? The only real means of escape that Razia has is school and that has been taken away from her by her family. If anything throughout the story Razia is reliant on others. Whether she likes it or not. What was supposed to be happy marriage has turned into a nightmare for Razia, with Razak never home?

The end of the story is interesting as by buying the white Venetian blind for the window Razak has made the same mistake as Razia’s family. Razia liked to look out the window and would spend hours looking at the world go by. Things have now changed and Razak has exercised complete control over Razia who is submissive to Razak and his desires. Rather than tell Razak that she doesn’t want the blind she pretends to be happy in case she hurts Razak’s feelings. As far as Razak is concerned Razia is happy and content. Little does he know that he is controlling her just as Razia’s family have? Leaving Razia to live a paralyzed life in whereby she cannot think for herself. It is for this reason that the reader understands why school was so important to Razia.

Cite Post
McManus, Dermot. "The Bamboo Blind by Seema Jena." The Sitting Bee. The Sitting Bee, 11 Jun. 2022. Web.

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