Although the play seeks to construct the search for identity within the unfulfilling, incomplete nature of bourgeois existence as a universal non-gendered experience along Existential lines as its primary concern, it eventually deals with many questions on a broader socio-economic context on Realist lines. Even the characters of the play are seen to engage in a constant search of meaning and identity in life. It is in sync with R. In order to fulfil a need…. She was supposed to be attracted to her now son-in-law, Manoj too, as his influential status had charmed her sufficiently.

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Savitri The Woman , Act Two. Halfway House, Mohan Rakesh. She struggles to balance the lives of herself as well as her children, and hold her family together. In doing this, as she has a husband who is a simpleton and has little regard for his family, she tends to loose her temper frequently and comes across as negative. However, as the play progresses, her behaviour seems more and more justified to the reader as one realises the responsibility resting on her shoulders. Her nagging and irritability seems less aggressively petulant and more reasonable, given her situation, as the play progresses.

However, as has been elucidated above, this reading does not hold merit. An Introduction to Aadhe-adhure, Worldview Publications, Aggarwal, P. The character of Savitri is seen by some critics as inherently good and with a protective motherly instinct instilled within her. She is seen as the sole character of the play who has any regard for the family and works tirelessly for them, yet going unrewarded for her devotion. According to Nigam, R. However, another stance taken by critics is that she is a negative and critical woman, who frequently cuts off and picks fights with her husband.

Thus it can be seen that the influence of the patriarchy, as well as its manipulation of its victims, leads to the fall and degradation of society. In Savitri, the strong wife matched with a parasitic, spineless husband, Rakesh articulates the consciousness of a modern woman.

Maharishi, M. Linda was also the mother and wife in her own family and was considered to be the devoted figure who held the family together- an image that is similar to the opinion held by some of Savitri. However, where Linda is the gullible, innocent and blindly trusting wife and mother who is eternally devoted to every words uttered by her husband which tends to be unfruitful, since her husband holds a distorted view of life , Savitri is, on the other hand, more street smart and less naive, critical as she is of her husband.

Another significant difference that may be brought out is that Savitri is the member of her spousal relationship who has an affair whereas Linda is the one cheated on by her partner, but pretends to be unaware of it. The outlook taken towards Savitri and Linda can be thus compared, especially since they are both the mother figures in a family set-up that contains an eery sense of incompleteness and deals with a recurring theme of abandonment.

Strength of character…? Nath, Indian society limits freedom of choice in marriage as well as opportunities for such relationships. Even among the urbanised, the young have scarcely any chance of having such a relationship openly. Thus, Binni feels, as she confesses to Savitri, that she feels she has married a stranger, and that she does not truly know Manoj. Further, the play exposes how it is acceptable for a husband to voice a suspicion about his wife-to-be, but not for a woman to do so.

A moral inferiority in Binni is implied by Manoj, as well as an alleged inability to be satisfied in a man. This reveals the deeply ingrained sexist mindset prevalent in even the modern society that exists in the world of the play. Also seen in Binni is an almost-replica of her mother, the way that in Death of a Salesman the younger son Happy is almost an exact image of his father, Willy.

Binni looks up to her mother as an ideal, as Happy did his father, and strives to be like her. Binni, being the older daughter is the first to sense an imbalance and a sense of incompleteness in the house, in the coarse of the play, even though it is Kinni, the younger daughter who truly recognises it.

The characters exist on a seemingly cyclic plane, and continually return to the same state over and over, as they do in Death of a Salesman. This is cleverly portrayed by the playwright by having the play progress seamlessly in the same location of their house but different areas of it and without a single scene break or interval, with only a dimming of lights between the two acts to indicate the passage of a day.

The same device is also employed by Miller, who has his entire play take place in various rooms of the Loman house in a time span of twenty-four hour, with the entire play being one act long without scene breaks. Willy and Biff, Death of a Salesman. Arthur Miller. They are the only characters for whom there is hope for the future, as they can see the failings in their family, and are more detached from it than its other members. However, this aware consciousness does not amount to anything in the end of either play as both characters remain caught in the odd trap that is their family.

Thus, a sense of awareness does exist somewhere in the mind of the family, but they tend to ignore it, and remain caught in their recurring trauma and distress. As Kinni is the younger daughter, she tends to get far more easily traumatised by the events that take place in the house.

She is the one who most frequently undercuts the discussions, in order to prevent a conflict, not realising that she is only prolonging the inevitable and thus doing more harm than good since the eventual explosion is bound to be worse if it is put off for longer, allowing the frustration of the characters to fester and stew over a longer period of time.

Kinni being a young girl needs her family to support her at this time but is unable to find what she seeks, like the rest of her family. In her young, formative years, she lacks the support she so desperately yearns for, as her parents and siblings are preoccupied with their own complex lives that are in a constant state of disarray. There is also in the play a sort of perverse, inverted sexism in which Savitri, towards the end of the play, in the midst of her quarrel with Juneja, reveals that she has developed a stereotyped notion of all men being the same, most likely due to the subjugation and violence she faced at the hands of her husband which led her to believe that all men are the same.

She has an untamed hostility towards the patriarchy because of the bad treatment meted out to her by her husband, his friends as well as other male members of society. Similarities can be sen especially highlighted by this dialogue in the sentence construction in this play and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, as he employs, much like Mohan Rakesh, the use of disjointed sentences connected by ellipses in order to bring out the scrambled, bewildered state of mind of the characters and their search for a sense of completion and fulfilment in their lives.

They both also employ repetition in the most specifically poignant and profound dialogues of the play, in order to stress the points being made while simultaneously underlining the bleakness and desperation in the play.

All of you… every one of you… all alike! Exactly the same. Different masks, but the face…? The same wretched face… every single one of you! You are commenting using your WordPress.

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The Quest for Satiation- A reading of Mohan Rakesh’s Halfway House

Recipient of umpteen awards ,many critics and theatre persons have seen this as most complete play. An incisive analysis of man-woman relationship ,the play has also been seen to possess a scathing critique of the unfulfilling ,incomplete nature of bourgeois existence. However when we position ourselves at the end of the century and look again at the play, the approbation gets considerably muted. If there. However, there is a sense of repentance in her and this leads her whetting upon the idea of performing sati, like a typical Indian woman, at the end of the play. Works Cited 1.


Halfway House by Mohan Rakesh

Halfway house is a play written by Mohan Rakesh, published in the year The play seems to give a scathing critique of the unsatisfactory and incomplete nature of bourgeois existence. The play also shows the influence of modern theatrical and philosophical traditions especially of Theatre of Absurd Brecht, Ionesco, Beckett etc. During this period, in India all were touched by this wave. Plays were making serious enquiries about oneself and existentialism. All the characters in this play are shown to be incomplete and in fragments of their own predicaments but women are more incomplete than men. The play foregrounds the corrosiveness of a disintegrated family through their characters.


Mohan Rakesh

Savitri The Woman , Act Two. Halfway House, Mohan Rakesh. She struggles to balance the lives of herself as well as her children, and hold her family together. In doing this, as she has a husband who is a simpleton and has little regard for his family, she tends to loose her temper frequently and comes across as negative. However, as the play progresses, her behaviour seems more and more justified to the reader as one realises the responsibility resting on her shoulders.


Halfway House: Women in the Play


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