Ice-Candy-Man: A Feminist Perspective * Summary In Ice-Candy-Man the women characters cannot be easily subjugated. Lenny, her Ayah Shanta, her mother and Godmother are capable of new roles and responsibilities. It is the second novel by a woman writer dealing with the theme of Partition of India. It is likely to be a more neutral on account of the traumatic event of Partition which caused divisiveness, disharmony, mutual suspicion, hardening. Writer depicts the events overtaking the Partition in their naked cruelty and ruthlessness.
She choose a theme which is different from the traditional issues—the issues of romantic involvements and the sentimental stuff. In Pakistan the measure of freedom for women is considerably less than it exists in India. In this novel feminine psyche and experiences are presented with a unique freshness. Bapsi Sidhwa uses the structural device and turns the female protagonists into the moral centre, while most of the male characters either remain apathetic or indulge in destructive violence. In patriarchal social set up masculinity means superiority while femininity means inferiority.
Masculinity implies strength, action, self-assertion and domination, femininity implies weakness, passivity, docility, obedience and self-negation. Through narrator Lenny the Bapsi Sidhwa lends weight and validity to the feminine perspective on the nature of surrounding reality. In a feminist text woman performs and controls and promotes the action by her active involvement and concern and in the process it is she who acquires the attributes of heroism and glory. In Ice-Candy-Man, Lenny’s relationship with her cousin upholds the principle of equality Ayah is a flame of sensuousness and female vitality.
Lenny’s mother and Lenny’s aunt play the humanitarian and heroic role of fighting for the lives and property of Hindus. These two women undertake the risky job of saving lives in danger. Godmother’s sense of humor, her deer-like agility, in spite of her old age, and her power to mould, modify and order not only individuals but even the system, when she so desires, earn her respect and admiration of people around her. But besides these qualities she is endowed with profound understanding of human existence and her wisdom is revealed when she consoles the Ayah, in the aftermath of what has been done to her.
Godmother concentrates in her character what the feminists feel is very important for a woman to realize her individuality the feeling of self-worth. Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan is manifestly a male discourse the focus is on the hero, Juggut Singh though he is portrayed as a devil, the writer’s sympathy and admiration are obviously for him his jauntiness, his physical stature and for his moral stature. Ice-Candy-Man becomes a feminist text in the true sense of the term, successfully attempting to bring to the centre-stage the female protagonists who come alive on account of their realistic presentation.
As Literature is a powerful tool with the help of which creative writer modulate and change the society. Sidhwa depict the theme in which he discusses those determined women for whom the traditional role is inadequate, women who wish to affirm their independence and autonomy and are perfectly capable of assuming new roles and responsibilities. Writers always wish to build a world which is free of dominance and hierarchy, a world that rests on the principles of justice and equality and is truly human.