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The narrator's grandmother is a strong willed woman who believes in traditional values. Her career as headmistress gave her an air of authority (Ghosh, 1988). The people she encountered respected her for who she was. Her position as a headmistress came with a responsibility of shaping of her students' lives. She had no stomach for individuals who preferred to waste their time (Ghosh, 1988). Her resolve in handling delicate issues earned her respect. She upheld moral standards and expected others to follow suite. She did not believe that an individual should change his morals no matter where they were. Her friendship with the royal family gives her a sense of power. She tries to influence others by giving them her opinions on issues that affected everyone's life. She presented herself as a model hardworking person who inspired others to better themselves.
The narrator's mother has influence in her son's life. She plays a significant role in his upbringing. Her husband's career brings with it some responsibilities which she gladly takes. She represents the model wife and mother. Her support of her husband and her humble opinions catch the ears of some of the highly regarded individuals in society (Ghosh, 1988). Her observations are highly regarded. These earn her husband respect and the attention of prominent individuals.
The narrator's cousin, Ila is a beautiful young woman. The fact that she goes to be educated abroad gives power over her peers (Ghosh, 1988). Ila is sophisticated young woman used to having her own way. She chooses to live her life the western way. Her beauty captivates those near her. She believes in doing what she desires and does not let the opinion of others deter her (Ghosh, 1988). Her knowledge and experience of the modern world gives her power over those who are yet to experience it. She takes upon herself the opportunity to show them the best things that life could offer.
The narrator's grandmother is a woman who takes initiative in leading others. She is in control of her activities. Her resolve to stick to her beliefs is unquestionable. She believes in the traditional moral values. The narrator's mother is a woman who supports her family and opinionated. She supports her husband at all times giving him the respect he deserves. Ila is a young woman who chooses to live her life the as she sees fit. She disregards other people's opinions whenever she believes herself to be right. She abandons the traditional way of living and adopts the western lifestyle. All three women are similar in upholding their beliefs. They also face the challenges faced by women in a world dominated by men.
Ila is a rebellious young woman who refuses to conform to her traditional way of life. When she goes to study in the west, she embraces the western way of life. She did not believe in the Indian tradition norms as regarded women. She refuses to embrace the Indian traditional ways and rather chooses to live a broad free. Although, the narrator's grandmother believes she is not looking for freedom but rather to do as she pleased (Ghosh, 1988).
Ila appears to wield some power to some of those who follow the traditional way of living. Her knowledge and broad minded attitude assert her sense of power over her peers. She does things her own way irrespective of the other person's opinions (Ghosh, 1988). Although the western woman appears empowered in comparison to the Indian woman, Ila is not seen by the narrator grandmother as empowered, she is rather observed as a person whose morals have lost. The women who have chosen the western way of life have done so to empower themselves against traditional practices oppressive to women. In their social circles abroad, they represent women who have liberated themselves from traditional discrimination.