Jasmine – The Story of an Indian Woman’s Transformation

In Jasmine, Bharati Mukherjee tells the story of a young woman named Jyoti, born in the village of Hasnapur. She is a poor girl but very intelligent and rebellious and defiant of spirit. However, she has to accept the dictates of the males in her family, most of the time. When an astrologer predicts her fortune by declaring her “widowhood and exile,” she denies it and says, “I don’t believe in you.” He then marries Prakash Vijh, a young modern Indian who wishes to emigrate to the United States. She completely identifies with him. He then names it ‘Jasmine’ with a view to modernizing it. This can be called the first step in the transformation process that you must go through throughout the novel.

In this way, the novel Jasmine can be basically called a story of transformation, reinventions and reincarnations, especially of Jasmine, the heroine of the novel. Therefore, according to Roopa M. Belur, in this novel, Mukherjee “describes this transformation and transition as a positive and optimistic journey.” Another reviewer says, “She (Jasmine) is on the run for life without escaping from life, which is again a positive step.”

Jasmine transformation process:

Jyoti is something of a rebel and nonconformist from her own childhood. Various incidents and decisions in his life prove this fact. Incidents such as her courageous denial of her intended widowhood and exile by the seer, her decision to marry Prakash Vijh against her parents’ wishes, her decision to learn English, and her decision to go to America after the murder. of her husband indicate the seeds. of change already present in it. All of these incidents show that you will never be passive in whatever life throws at you. In addition, it can be said that she will change herself or the circumstances.

Jyoti after her marriage, undergoes a symbolic transformation in India itself. She begins to move between identities just after changing from rural Hasnapur to urban Jullunder. Here her husband changes her name to Jasmine, and also gives her a “new kind of city woman” life. However, her true metamorphosis from an obedient Hindu woman to a stubborn woman begins only after her arrival in the USA. The incident of her rape by the cruel ship’s captain in Florida is the worst that she experiences after her arrival in U.S. However, after the rape, she decides to take revenge and also allows herself to become the Goddess Kali to kill that brute. Thus, he faces that incident with great courage. Then she burns what follows her husband. This incident shows that she not only burns her husband’s suit, but also burns his old self and his history. After that, the reinvention of his identity and his introduction to the American way of life begins in the form of “Jazzy in a T-shirt, tight laces and running shoes.” Lillian Gordon, a kind American lady, helps Jyoti change her appearance according to the American way of life. Then she goes to New York and lives with the family of Devinder Vadhera, her husband’s teacher. But here life is uncomfortable for him, so after a few days, he leaves that family too.

Her Americanization is complete after becoming the vital part of Taylor and Wylie Hayes’ family. Here she lives happily with Taylor, Wylie and her adopted daughter, Duff. Then he falls in love with Taylor, lives happily with him and his daughter when Taylor’s wife leaves him. However, this happiness does not last long. Again there is a change in her life, when she sees her husband’s murderer in New York.

Jasmine then goes to Iowa out of fear, and lives with Bud Ripplemayer. There she acquires a new identity as Jane Ripplemayer, while living with Bud Ripplemayer. However, she was unable to live with Bud for a long time, as she feels isolated there. After about four years of living with Bud, she leaves for California, when Taylor comes to take her with him. Thus, she leaves Bud, despite being pregnant with his son. She leaves him wondering if he is morally right or wrong. In this way, we can say that throughout the novel, Jasmine moves between ‘identities’. Jyoti, who always wanted to live life on her own terms but couldn’t, now becomes Jase. During this stage of his life, he actually lives a fairly Americanized life. Furthermore, even at the end of the novel, the process of his incarnation appears to be incomplete. It doesn’t appear to be complete even after going through a number of transformations. After reading the novel, it can be said that in her journey of transformation and her yearning to find an identity, she comes out as a strong winner by taking on new ideas, desires, skills, and habits.

According to Katherine Miller, “the desire to change transcends all the limitations imposed by race, class and gender.” In this way, Jasmine has as she puts it, “a husband for every woman I’ve ever been. Prakash for Jasmine, Taylor for Jase, Bud for Jane, and half a face for Kali.” Therefore, it goes through a few rebirths to become fully American. His qualities such as adaptability and willingness to reinvent himself help him fit into American society.

At the conclusion of this topic, it can be said that Jasmine emerges as an independent entity that thinks and cares for herself. There are some facts in the process of transforming Jyoti into Jasmine. The first thing is that, as you pursue your dreams and desires, you experience a radical change. Second, violence, be it psychic or physical, plays an important role in the transformation experienced by Jasmine. Then some circumstances in her life force her to do something that is just shocking and creepy. In this way, Jasmine doesn’t stay the same at the end of the story. It can be said that he literally crosses the oceans, physical and geographical borders, and changes his life in all aspects; emotionally, psychologically and physically. In this process of transformation, due to her resilient nature and her vital force, she emerges victorious, self-asserting and opposed to her former self.

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