Daniyal Mueenuddin's representation of gender in "In Other Rooms, Other Wonders"
Pervez, Nighat K.
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Daniyal Mueenuddin, the Pakistani-American author of In Other Rooms, Other Wonders , spent his childhood in Lahore, Pakistan and Elroy, Wisconsin. As an adult, he managed a farm in Pakistan, studied law at Yale, worked as a Human Rights advocate, and completed an MFA in writing at the University of Arizona. This extraordinary record of transnational, multidisciplinary experiences positioned him to write with unprecedented insight as an insider-outsider. The stories he has written about Pakistani's society have caught Western readers' attention and elicited high praise from reviewers. My dissertation focuses on Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms, Other Wonders , a book of eight interlinked short stories that describe the different sides of Pakistani society through a diverse set of characters. The central character is K.K. Harooni, a patriarchal landlord who has many servants, relatives and friends. I focus on three themes in the book. Chapter One concentrates on women in urban and rural contexts. I discuss how patriarchy affects women's lives and how they are the victims of injustice who are deprived of respect. He captures truthfully the reality that women from rural areas are greater victims of patriarchy and get fewer chances to receive education and public awareness than women in urban areas. Chapter Two revolves around women's oppression in family systems. Mueenuddin describes the deep roots of patriarchy in Pakistani society and illuminates how women hold the lowest positions in the family and in society. His writings help the reader to understand that women are considered as property and are not considered worthy of the respect that their male counterparts receive. Chapter Three analyzes the tangled knots of gender and class. Mueenuddin successfully describes how economic differences shape the behavior of men towards the female gender. Through representing different characters, his stories show how poor women are the most deprived members of the population. Elite women have some liberties, but all classes of women are disenfranchised compared to male members of society. Mueenuddin showcases the double standards for men and women. In religion, education, tradition, customs and everyday reality, men are considered to be "bread winners" and women are perceived as a "burden" on the family. Pakistani patriarchs use all of aspects of society to strengthen the disregard in which women are held.