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That’s what She Said: Sita in the Lives and Imaginations of Hindu Women: Choice, Ideals and the Oral Tradition.

Title:

That’s what She Said: Sita in the Lives and Imaginations of Hindu Women: Choice, Ideals and the Oral Tradition.

Delaye, Ashleigh (2012) That’s what She Said: Sita in the Lives and Imaginations of Hindu Women: Choice, Ideals and the Oral Tradition. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Sita, the wife of Rama and the heroine of the Hindu epic narrative, the Ramayana, is described as the ideal wife of the Hindu tradition. Terms like demure, loyal, modest, pure, chaste, and devoted are used to depict the woman who typifies the pativrata (perfect wife). Putting aside what the tradition itself says about how Sita should be interpreted, this thesis asks how women of the tradition interpret Sita. By looking at women’s oral tradition about Sita and through interviews with six women from the Hindu tradition, a more nuanced depiction of the ideal wife emerges. This thesis has taken from the responses of women who participated in my study two major themes: the influence of the oral tradition on women’s interpretation of Sita, and concerns over Sita’s apparent lack of choice throughout her life. Emerging from these subjects are questions and discussion pertaining to whether Sita’s ideal character makes her a role model. The prevailing sentiments of the women in this study are that Sita is an ideal of the tradition, but her apparent lack of choice in life tempers her impact as role model for women. This thesis contributes to a small but important field of study on interpretation of Sita specifically, and women in the Hindu tradition more generally. This thesis would also be useful to those interested in religion, women in religion, Ramayana studies, diaspora studies, oral traditions, and feminist analysis.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religion
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Delaye, Ashleigh
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:History and Philosophy of Religion
Date:16 September 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Orr, Leslie
Keywords:Sita, Hinduism, oral tradition, feminist methods, popular religion.
ID Code:974862
Deposited By:ASHLEIGH DELAYE
Deposited On:30 Oct 2012 11:00
Last Modified:30 Oct 2012 11:00
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