Thoughts on Lahiri

Bibi’s story is deeply disturbing for a number of reasons, but what stands out the most to me is the “cure” proposed for Bibi and the assumption of female hysteria. Bibi’s life long battle with epilepsy was assumed to be cured by a man, and to put it quite literally, sex with a man. Yes, this is something Bibi wanted, to be recognized as a “true woman” and find a husband to be married, but the placement of that as her only hope is really disturbing. Bibi goes through this entire story. carefully monitored, watched, and even assisted by the other women, who try to make her feel as if she is able to be “one of them” despite the stigma and assumptions made about her condition. It’s only when Bibi finds a man and becomes pregnant that she is truly left alone, for months. This places Bibi in a place of isolation, worse than the one she was previously experiencing.

The rejection caused by Bibi’s epilepsy is one that is publicly recognized. This places Bibi’s pregnancy at even more of a shock, but Bibi allows that man to keep his secrets and not be known as someone who “dirtied” her or interacted with her in such an intimate way at all. Instead, she gives him the “privacy” that she herself was never afforded and continues to have to live a life of exile, despite her desire to be a mother finally being fulfilled.

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