Sunday, December 8, 2013

'The Freaks' by Kamala Das: Summary and Analysis

The Freaks by Kamala Das

He talks, turning a sun-stained
Cheek to me, his mouth, a dark
Cavern, where stalactites of
Uneven teeth gleam, his right
Hand on my knee, while our minds
Are willed to race towards love;
But they only wander, tripping
Idly over puddles of
Desire……. Can this man with
Nimble finger-tips unleash
Nothing more alive than the
Skin’s lazy hungers? Who can
Help us who has live so long
And have failed in love? The heart,
An empty cistern, waiting
Through long hours, fills itself
With coiling snakes of silence……..
I am freak.  It’s only
To save my face, I flaunt, at
Times, a grand, flamboyant lust.


'The Freaks', a short lyric written in the confessional manner, is written in the first person point of view. The poem gives expression to a the speaker's (the poetess) feelings as she lies in bed with her husband, when both of them are waiting for the commencement of their physical intimacy. Though they are waiting for their physcial union, the female partner is a bit disgusted and scared. She finds her husband to be rather slow in moving his fingers over her body in order to enjoy the sensation of his contact with her. 

The poetess thinks that her partner is not passionate enough or not skilful enough to be able to arouse in her a really intense desire for sexual union. She then realizes that her marriage with this man had failed and that , even though they have lived together for a long time , they vane not really been able to achieve any conjugal happiness. She thinks herself unhappy and feels the 'coiling snakes of silence' or emptiness in her heart. At the end, she calls herself a freak or abnormal person who makes a show of being lustful in order that she may be regarded as a normal person.   

Kamala looks very determined to revolt against the conventional society’s definition of womanhood. Even she challenges the traditional sex roles. In many of her poems, she brings out the emotional emptiness and sterility of married life and the intensity of misery of the wife who surrenders to her husband who is repulsive, and with whom she has no emotional contact at all. 

The poem 'The Freaks' begins with a slow movement,representing her indifference to sex and ends on a n impulsive note, in keeping with the compromise. She must not only surrender herself to his love making however she hates it, she must also pretend to like it. Her self-respect insists it; the social customs require it. This is a male dominated world.

A married woman cannot articulate her voice to the filth of her experience. She must follow the social rules which man has made in a world. She is his subordinate, his property, an object; she has no right to raise her voice. Kamala Das`s poetry proves that Indian woman has irritated the typical male sense of courtesy and modesty. Kamala Das initiates a new age for woman poets by accepting new idiom, a new standard and new way of expression which reflects a entire denial of the conventional form of poetic expression of the male dominant culture.

Kamala Das is honest and at times full of anger when she projects andattacks on male domination. She is a poet of the modern Indian woman, giving expression to it more openly than any other Indian woman poet.

The motivating force of her notion is love that is frustrating experience. All her efforts to establish meaningful relations with other show to be fruitless. In Freaks, poet depicts the disappointment, senselessness and the torment of a woman who longs for true love but it is denied by her husband who is insensible to her psychological desires. She is revolted by cruelty of her companion. She feels trapped by her male ego. Therefore she refused to play the traditional role as a wife. It is natural that her poems represent a rebellion against male dominated social system .It shows that in a male dominated world she has courage to emphasis her feminine sensibility and to revolt against the system. She is proud of her femininity and does not fail to claim it.

She is conscious of a primary need for true love, psychological need and a desire for liberty within the family system. In this sense, she is truly liberated woman and a representative of modern woman who identify her right to sexual fulfillment and psychological security.