Kamala Das as a Feminist Poet

Kamala Das’s poetry is essentially the poetry of a woman. This poetry centres round Kamala Das as a woman – as a wife, as a sexual partner for many men besides her husband, and as a mother. Her feminine sensibility is the motivating and governing force behind her poems; and it is this sensibility which has given to her poetry a distinctive character. Other women too have written poems showing their feminine sensibility; but Kamala Das is on of the pioneers in this respect and one of innovators.

Kamala Das’s feminine sensibility appears most emphatically and forcefully in poems in which she has described the temperament and disposition of her husband. The Old Playhouse is one of the poems which are permeated by her feminine sensibility. Her feminine sensibility revolted against her husband’s manner of making love of her. Only a bold woman would thus express her disgust with ahusband who seeks only the gratification of his lust. In The Sunshine Cat Kamala Das’s feminine sensibility compels her to describe her husband as a selfish and cowardly man who did not love her properly. Her husband, she says, had been treating her as a prisoner with only a yellow cat (or a streak of sunshine) to keep her company.

Kamala Das’s feminine sensibility shows itself also in the two poems which she has written about the birth of a son to her. The poem entitled Jaisurya is an expression of a woman’s most precious feelings when she is about to give birth to a child and subsequently when she has actually given birth to the expected child. The other poem is entitled The White Flowers.

The typical feminine themes, and even the images and symbols chosen by Kamala Das, make her poems distinctly feminine. She regards the human body, both male and female, as a rare possession, and a gift from God. Her poems are feminine in theme and feminine in tone. She is sensitive,sensuous, and sentimental. She is intensely emotional, sometimes emotional without restraint. For instance, her forgiving attitude in her poem entitled Composition is typical of the Indian feminine sensibility. In the poem she says that she has reached an age at which one forgives all and that she is ready to forgive friends and to forgive those who ruined friendship. Indeed, she has successfully blended fierce female protest and charming feminine sentiments in her poems.

Her poetry may be regarded as the poetry of protest. Her protest is directed against the injustices and the persecution to which women in India have always been subjected. In a poem entitled The Conflagration, she scolds the Indian women for thinking that their only function is to lie beneath a man in order to satisfy his lust. Here she tells the women that the world extends a lot beyond the six-foot frames of a husband. Thus her poetry serves a social purpose and a reformative function too. Int his respect too her poetry differs from the poetry of most other women poets writing in English.

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