‘Kitchen’ is the metaphor for the common woman’s arena. Though it is limited, it is ‘Her’ domain, her expression of freedom. Therefore, the phrase ‘kitchenette building’ must imply the institutionalizing of the domestication of Woman. To perceive her as belonging to the kitchen, her place. Women, as the house-hold keepers are supposed to be always available, with no questions, only commands. Whilst others do have their share of holidays, the kitchen-keepers are always expected to work irrespective of circumstances, and their conveniences. They are part of the kitchenette building compartmentalized into slots, and marginalized in the process.
They assert that they are things of the dry hours. They have no outlet as day by day; they succumb to their mechanical routine. They live a mechanized life as they run on the master’s commands. Theirs’ is not a fixed plan, they live a an ‘involuntary’ plan where nothing is fixed and pre-calculated as per their norms. When the speaker says ’involuntary’, she means that the woman works on the impulses of others and not on her own impulses. They are ‘grayed in” as tough they are ageing with force, rather than with the advent of time. They are often termed as a Dream-mate of a man: but this is limited to a dream. And the phrase comes across as a giddy phrase. Practically the woman far from being placed on a pedestal is not regarded as an individual with her own identity. She is rather defined by different functions such as “rent”, “feeding a wife”, “satisfying a man”. etc. The word ’rent’ is used with reference to something that is not considered one’s own. This explains the epithet.Virginia Woolf asserts in her A Room of One’s own:”Imaginatively she is of the highest importance; practically she is completely insignificant. She pervades poetry from cover to cover; she is all but absent from history. ”
The dream is as faint that the onion fumes that are sent up. The dreams are just white and vilolet. Thy are not very colorful. Their existence is limited to ‘fighting’ with the fried potatoes; and conquering the stink of yesterday garbage ripening in the hall. The other members of the household expect her to cater to all the domestic chores including the kitchen-ones. Their movements are termed as ‘flutter’-the movement of birds in cages. The singing of an aria appears like a vocal expression of their freedom.Even if the kitchen is perfect, sparkling clean and it is kept warm; just as she comprehends that it is time for the kitchen to close, one can anticipate a message to begin some thing new.
“We wonder”, says the speaker. However, surely not for more than a minute, for that is the only time that she has:
Since Number Five is out of the bathroom now,
We think of lukewarm water, hope to get in it.
It reflects how they do not have time even for basic necessities, like going to the toilet. The phrase ‘Number Five’ indicates that the fifth person in the household is out of the bathroom. The speaker’s only want is luke-warm water that she hopes to get. Her needs are minimal; and therefore basic.
© Rukhaya MK 2010
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