Talking Tools, Femina narrans, and the Irrepressibility of Women

Coralynn V. Davis

in Maithil Women's Tales

Published by University of Illinois Press

Published in print July 2014 | ISBN: 9780252038426
Published online April 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780252096303 | DOI:
Talking Tools, Femina narrans, and the Irrepressibility of Women

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This concluding chapter looks at what happens in Maithil women's folktales when stories of women's suffering at the hands of other women are first suppressed and later overheard by men who have the power to alleviate such suffering. Maithil women are structurally pitted against one another in their pursuit of security and resources in the context of patriarchal, patrilineal, and patrilocal formations. It is these oppositions that account for the storied abuse meted out by co-wives, mothers-in-law, and the mistresses of servants. However, the solidarities women nonetheless form—in part through sharing stories together, as well as through keeping each other's secrets—serve to mitigate their suffering and maintain a counter-system of ideational patterns and practices.

Keywords: women's suffering; patriarchal formations; Maithil women; folktales

Chapter.  11882 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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