Traces of Phallocentrism, Trauma and Holocaust Imagery in What the Body Remembers and Ice Candy Man

Aisha Haleem


There are periods and times in human history that have been particularly miserable, such as world wars, the Holocaust, the Plague, epidemics, and pandemics. Partition of India and Pakistan has also been counted as the most painful, traumatic, and a period of holocaust and grotesque imagery. Partition totally justifies the opening lines of the novel Tales of Two Cities. Partition has proven to be the most disgraceful and unbiased, especially for women, more than any other class in society, because, being a weaker sex, they can be easily targeted. Phallocentrism denotes the superiority and possession of men and their power because of the lack of penis (symbolical superiority) in women, which creates a kind of castration of power and authority among women; consequently, they should rely on men, which give them a sort of advantage of supremacy, and they use women as a tool to justify their command over them. At the time of Partition, men mostly used women's bodies to humiliate other communities by abducting and raping them because it was considered that a woman's vagina represented the honour and prestige of certain communities and families. Phalocentrism has played its cruel role to humiliate women at the time of Partition, which we can easily trace in Bapsi Sidhwa's Ice Candy Man through the character of Aayah, who was brutally abducted, which was a very prominent act of defeat and humiliation between religious groups during communal rights, and in Shauna Singh Baldwin's What the Body Remembers, we can see the characters of Roop, Satya, and Kusum, whose body was chopped into six pieces when she was pregnant. There are many other writers like Khushwant Singh, Amrita Pritam, and Sadat Hassan Manto who have written a lot about partition and its effect on people’s psyches.


partition; phallocentrism; holocaust; trauma; communal riots

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