Unearthing Symbolic Language of Subjectivity: An Irigarayan Analysis of the Dream in Begum Rokeya Hossain's Sultana's Dream.

Amrita Das
Amrita Das

Assistant Professor
P P Savani University



This research paper intends to unearth the symbolic language of women. Women's language is a phenomenon that has been around for a while. Language works as a psychological tool to express the self. The traditional man-made language focuses on male subjectivity. But where is the feminine subjectivity? Is this possible to define feminine subjectivity? Feminists' arguments about women's language must be cognizant to build the subjective definition of women from a different perspective. To establish the subjectivity of women I want to explore Luce Irigaray’s theory of jouissance which works as a feminine language to construct women's subjectivity. Here I want to analyze Begum Rokeya Hossain’s short story Sultana’s Dream to unearth the woman's symbolic language. My intention in this research paper is also to explore the dream sequence of Sultana and how dreams can be a symbolic language analyzed with jouissance to present women's subjectivity.


Keywords: Women language, Subjectivity, Female Imaginary, Jouissance, Luce Irigaray, symbolic language


Language is a powerful tool to affect human cognition. It expresses the speaker’s mind and simultaneously reciprocates feelings and emotions. It works like an instrument to express feelings, emotions, moods, and aspirations. The powerful impact of language can connect one to his or her inner self. In this 21st century, the definition of language has been shaped anew. There have come languages beyond meta-languages such as the programming language, the computer language in the technological field, and also the psychoanalytic conceptions of language in the philosophical counterpoint which oversee the conventional language forms mostly. “Language can be regarded as a system of certain signs shared by a group (or groups) of people.” (Psychology writing) For 150,000 years various revolutions in the language system have reconceptualized the language form. The history of language has been ascribed in chapter two of the Book of Genesis that Adam is the first speaker and gave the concept of the ‘atomic-adamic’ view where language is used to ‘name’ something and the magnificence of language depends upon the speaker and that is by and large male. Aniket Jaaware in his book Simplifications An Introduction to Structuralism and Post-Structuralism said that ‘the user of language is modelled on the speaker, usually male.’ (Jaaware 75) In contrast to this Adamic language, Jaaware has talked about ‘the atomic-ideation’ language concept which is related to mental, idealization, and abstract ideas. The language pyramid mentioned in this book shows that Male language is directly related to Entities and female language is directly connected to Ideas. So historically it is believed that Language is different for men and women. But this language difference is not visible at the early stage of a child. Robin Lakoff says that till the age of 5, every child’s language is the same, but after that age, the pattern and structure of language changes for women, and they are taught to use certain kinds of language which is vague, which is like ‘rising intonation on declarative speech’ (Jaaware 78) where women are not sure about the answers of what she says. She keeps her sentences open-ended. Their language is full of ‘intensifiers’(Jaaware87) where she needs to prove her statement true. This cultural insistence is very much a reflection of women’s polite and solemn language, as women are considered to have ‘dim intelligence’. Dell Hymes believed that language’s social and cultural matters always incorporate. Language is used to create gender differences. Women are streamlined from the beginning to use a certain kind of language where she learns how to speak reasonably.

Discussing women's language and its history it is quite clear that Robin Lakoff is credited for bringing the concept of language and gender interrelation and also the ‘women language’ concept in her very first book Language and Woman's Place in 1973. Since then, four decades have passed and women's language also has generated a new meaning. Liwei Zhu says, “Women's Language is not fundamentally about gender but more basically about the displayed lack of Power.” (163) Analysis of the history of language shows that many philosophers are defining and elaborating on women's language using different analogies, but their concern is the same - that is to form a new type of female language that can constitute female subjectivity. In this research paper, I want to focus on the language given by the French Feminist Luce Irigaray who has talked about parle-femme means ‘women speak’ where she has given importance to the bodily manifestation of feminine subjectivity. Her defined language can be explained through various subdivisions and jouissance is one of those divisions which means desires or pleasures related to the body. Analyzing this jouissance as a form of language to present a separate female imaginary distinct from the male one and how this feminine imaginary constructs women’s subjectivity is my findings here.

Women are considered the weaker members of society, their weakness, their less educational background, and their powerlessness in earning enough posit them at a lower status. So is reflected in their language. The lack of a particular form of their language neglects their capacity for self-expression. The women are always in doubt about whether to reflect verbal or non-verbal gestures. Women’s language difference is visible in phonetics, grammar, tone, and vocabulary as well.  Their inferiority in language reflects their social status also. The linguistic approach of women is always imposing women's inferiority factor, less rationality, and sexual difference. Women don’t have a language of their own. They express themselves through their male counterparts’ ideas. So, for women to express themselves spontaneously women can avail shelter of the symbolic language. S.P Sree says, "It is difficult for women to express their feelings in a language which is chiefly made by men.” (Nora 2) Examining all these ideas I want to find here women’s use of symbolic language to define themselves. To make my analysis more fruitful I want to use Sultana’s Dream, a short story by Begum Rokheya Hossain. A Bhattacharya and P Hiradhar make their analysis of this story from the scientific discourses. M Lakhi criticizes the story from its utopian viewpoint. But the research on Rokhyea Hossain’s language of Dream is far from the analysis. So, this portion is interesting and needs to be highlighted with proper explanation. Symbolic language is a method of communication that uses characters or images to express concepts. Humans tend to use symbolic language and this is one of the dominant features of the cultural environment. Thus, in human cognition symbols process as a language only because of the ‘intense and unusual demands of the niche’ (Nora 3) of the symbols. In literature, symbols usually refer to a person, place, action, or word that represents some other thing. William Harmon says, “A symbol combines a literal and sensuous quality with an abstract or suggestive aspect.” In literature, symbols work to generate communication, and often to create a picture in the reader’s mind. “A mark or character used as a conventional representation of an object, function or process, e.g., the letter or letters standing for a chemical element or a character in musical notation is called a symbol.” (3 Akter)

Dream as a symbolic language

While researching the features of symbolism six types of symbolism are found which are - religious symbolism, socio-cultural symbolism, scientific symbolism, Economic symbolism, Arts and Literature symbolism, and political symbolism. Here my focus is symbolism in literature whereas in my paper symbolism has taken the shelter of metaphorical tools. Akter says, “To develop symbolism in his work, a writer utilizes other figures of speech, like metaphors, similes, allegory, as tools.” (11 Akter)

This paper wants to explore the symbolic language of the dream metaphor which takes the form of words in Sultana’s dream through her conversation with her thought replica Sara. A metaphor is a literary figure which helps to understand the subjective part of any reference through imagery or symbols.  It blends two different meanings to create a new one. By making comparisons between two elements metaphors can create new creativity in any concept. Lakoff and Johnson believe that “underlying the use of metaphor are image schemas that also determine our language more generally, as well as concepts and cultural forms”. (Lakoff 160). The use of metaphors is wide. It provides different aspects of Philosophy, Literature, language, and Art. The conceptual mappings of metaphor work as the database in mathematics, design, scientific discovery, and culture as well. This cultural conceptual inquiry helps in forming new ideas and thoughts that Begum Rokheya has used to form a new concept of women’s language to express their individuality.  This dream has been described by Begum Rokheya Hossain as an expression of desire that Muslim women long for, but cannot express in words. Dream plays the role of symbolic language here. Symbolic language generally has to instigate power that reflects through emotion, the arts, and the dreamscape. Symbols possess the capacity to transcend beyond the present and it also suggests multiple meanings. Symbolic language is a language older than words.

Sultana’s Dream is a receptacle for expressing women’s various desires. The desire Sultana expresses is to have a female-dominated society where men are behind the ‘Mardanas’. The dream is significant to Begum Rokheya as her dream consolidates her hidden desire to become a free woman unveiling the purdah of submissiveness. The dream is a part of her imagination that works as a metaphor for her desire which this paper wants to prove with the theoretical support of jouissance by Luce Irigaray which Irigaray constructed after constituting the concept of the Female Imaginary. That she derives from the concept of ‘jouissance’ to form a new form of language and this language of desire is worthwhile to research.

“Dreams seem to come to us from beyond the ordinary world, from a time before time, presenting us with their extraordinary gifts. Dreams deny reason and thrive on the symbolic, the poetic, and the dramatic. Our nightly visions so often seem ineffable and baffling because they speak to us in a symbolic language that transcends the limits of time and space, we’ve been taught to believe in.” (Hurst)

The jouissance is not solely an Irigarayan concept. Irigaray has derived this concept from Lacan who considers jouissance completely a male attribute. Before delving into this Lacanian concept of jouissance, this paper wants to explore in detail the concept of the dream, the concept of Imaginary both male and female, and then jouissance which Irigaray proves is a necessary part of the feminine imaginary to have women subjectivity.

While discussing dreams as a psychological tool, the first two names always strikethrough are Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan. Both the Freudian and Lacanian sense of dream is a part of desire. Wei Zhang and Benyo Guo interpretFreud regarded dreams as a royal road to the unconscious.” (1) Dreams are generated with the external stimuli, the dreamer's experience, and also the forces of the organic parts of the body. These work as materials to form dream content that is not always related to real life. These contents of dreams are part of one’s unconscious desires. In his book, Freud says, “A dream is the fulfillment of a wish’. (Freud 122). The imagination of the human mind takes various forms to express. Dreaming is one of those. The possibility and the impossibility both can be reflected through dreams. The dreamer’s thought is processed through his/her dreams. The dream is a manifestation of the conscious, unconscious, or subconscious mind. The unconsciousness and subconsciousness reflect our imagination that reciprocates with dream consequences as well. In many of his seminars, Lacan tried to give shape to a particular figure of Freud's concept of dream and resulting in the phallic symbolic order. Lacan creates three stages to describe the different phases of the human psyche: the Symbolic, the Imaginary, and the Real. Lacan’s psychic interpretation eventually results in sexual differences. But Irigaray contradicts the notion and explains that it gives a new theory of sexual difference to support women's subjectivity against the backdrop of the political dilemma of the then-French society. Sexual difference is a traditional phenomenon that came into existence from the psychoanalytic theory itself and it demands the reading of Freud and Lacan. Freud referred to Oedipus's complexity to define sexual differences. Both philosophers elaborate on it and give male subjectivity the ultimate invigoration.


Jouissance and its dimension

The Lacanian concept of sexual difference abounds with jouissance from the ‘dark continent’ of female sexuality which cannot possess women's self, essence, or language and if so, is very limited, lowered, and abstracted. Lacan derives the concept of jouissance from Freud. But he conceptualizes this word into different versions. He connects this concept with the thing, with the being, with the other, with the body image, with the phallic image, with sexuality, and with life. Lacan’s jouissance is his mode of language to investigate the unconscious. This language is formed by the correlation between the signifier and the signified. The signifier’s inability to produce a meaning invites signified to get involved in the meaning-making process. To garland this jouissance of linguistic quality, Lacan takes shelter under the two terms of Freud's ‘condensation’ and ‘displacement’. Lacan has re-described these two terms of Freud and stated about two states of consciousness - Imaginary and Symbolic. The symbolic stage is the manifestation of the ‘real’ patriarchal world. The imaginary world is the innocent world of the child where the self/other differences can’t be apprehended. After a certain period, the child comes out from that imaginary consciousness and commences the symbolic state which helps in understanding the unified self. On the other hand, the women's world is a world beyond reality, language formation, and beyond rational comprehension, which concludes with Lacan’s consideration of the imaginary world where a woman always fits Lacan gives preferences to the Symbolic which is the subjective language and narrative that controls desire, and temptation and equates power structure to control others Women's position in this continent is frustrating and demeaning. According to Lacan, “The subject does not simply satisfy desire, he enjoys desiring (jouit de désirer) and this is an essential dimension of his jouissance.” Thus, Jouissance for him is beyond symbolic elaboration. Luce Irigaray contrasts this Lacan’s idea of jouissance and renews it as an imaginary space. This imaginary space is degraded by Lacan as a demand which is related to ‘lack’ or ‘losses. This imaginary world Irigaray uplifts as a space for women where she empowers the feminine imaginary. It is a space for women to articulate women's subjectivity. In Lacanian terms the definition of Jouissance is, “always the order of tension, of forcing, of expenditure, even of exploitation, Jouissance is undoubtedly there at the point where pain begins to appear.” (Dimitriadis 2).

Luce Irigaray criticizes the Lacanian concept of jouissance and considers this concept concerning the body. When phallocentric considers the female body as a medium of sexual pleasure only, French feminists especially, Luce Irigaray consider the body from multiple perspectives. To her. “Jouissance is a source of pleasure beyond the male hegemony and outside the established substructures in the form of norms, laws, grammar, etc. She perceives it as a source of Women’s Writing, displacing the Law of the Father thereby providing an expression to women”.  (Behla 13)

Introducing and conglomerating this term by Lacan in a seminar The Formations of the Unconscious on 5th March 1958 forms convictions that jouissance against ‘desire and the signifier’, as an imaginary space, the otherness of the subject at the same time in other seminars he supports jouissance as an idea of desire also.  The desire for the Self and the other reflects through the concept of Subjectivity. Kristi writes that the Lacanian process of articulating self-subjectivity is to create an imaginary other which is different from the self. This imaginary space of the other’s existence is symbolic to create male subjectivity. Deconstructing the conventional male discourse, jouissance helps to bring new subjectivity in a feminine discourse which takes a different form from ecriture feminine also. The conventional male normativity designs women as an entity without truth, without being, and without self. The traditional norms don’t want to displace women but rather posit their entity into a degrading condition. This condition is always already there postulated by culture. Here this paper wants to mention that the Lacanian concept of the symbolic world refers to the self-commendation of males. That is a language of imposing authority by patriarchy.

Irigaray in her search for feminine subjectivity has criticized Lacan and Freud strongly. She found that in their analysis of psychoanalysis, the main approach of it is related to the subordination of women and they have talked about psychoanalytic feminism where the motto is basically to identify the female identity, libido, sexuality, etc.  By the jouissance, Irigaray refers to an imaginary space. By this imaginary ‘She means a structured, interrelated set of fantasies, where a fantasy consists of ideas about what we wish for conjoined with bodily energies that charge and eroticize them.’ (A Stone 7) and negates the idea that this imaginary space is out of the conscious control of the symbolic world. The imaginary world Irigaray re-uses from the feminine perspective to provide ultimate power to women.


The referential mode of Ego and Imaginary

To understand the concept of the imaginary world it is needed to understand the concept of the ego. The ego is a part of that mental receptacle that is always desperate to throw light only on others in the external world. This ego tries to maintain its repressive dignity even in dreams also. Ego is the part of both the conscious and the unconscious mind. This ego is a Freudian concept where he described ego in two parts - the realist and the narcissistic. The realist ego is an agency that raises consciousness against anti-social, sexual wishes which is an outside instinct. This realist ego is always rational. It is related to the self and always protects the ‘pleasure-seeking’ Id.  The Id is a component of the personality that is a part of the unconscious mind and its function is to satisfy needs and desires. Freud says that this Id gives birth to the imaginary concept. Another one is the Narcissistic ego which is the psychosexual ego. He has termed the realist ego as the natural ego and the narcissistic ego as related to either internal processes or external objects. It does not have any stability. It can’t form any rational part. The ego either gets pleasure from others or controls the tempted pleasure. But it never expresses feelings or sensations. The other is dependent on it. But the narcissistic ego is not an agency or a subject. It is an intersubjective process where it depends on the relation between the subject and the other. After Freud, Lacan interpreted the definition of ego in his terms. In his early career, Lacan's research was limited only to women and women’s psychoanalysis where it seems that his intention was only to degrade women's psyche. He describes women’s psyche as ‘psychotics, paranoiacs, hysterics, mystics.’ Women are socio-culturally constructed as negative. The ego of Freud's theory has been reinterpreted and divided into two by Lacan who relates it to the Mirror stage. His ego is divided between pleasure, joyful ego, frustration, and jealousy. When a child sees his image on the opposite side of the mirror, he considers the image as the other that can’t be ignored properly because the other helps to understand the subjective self. The subject’s identity is thus based on false representation and gives birth to the concept of phallocentrism. The ego has both positive and negative aspects of the subject and the other. The ego gives rise to the imaginary orientation. In this imaginary orientation, the self identifies with the other and vice versa. The imaginary is the narcissistic relations with others. The ego is a map of the body's ‘psychosocial meaning’.

The imaginary is bodily internalization where biological significance is not included, whereas biology is sociocultural biology. The body's unified totality is completely dependent on psychology and morphology, but not on anatomy. To construct the body's unified totality, Lacan utters the concept of the ‘phantom limb’ and ‘hysteria’. The Phantom limb is a kind of realization of the pain or other sensations of the body part which does not have a physical presence but is there in the imaginary body. The hysteric establishes body schema from the cultural perspective. It relies on the imaginary world. The ego is the repository of libido where the others are always internalized and their bodily presence is also there. To extend the ego’s potentiality of reason, of showing reality Lacan has interconnected his concept of psychoanalytic therapy with the ego’s entity that helps to understand the role of the self, the role of rationality. Lacan developed the ‘mirror stage’ based on this narcissistic ego. In Lacan’s mirror stage - a child is full of sensory experience and in the process of reaching the Real stage the child needs to enter into the language zone. The Real is different from Freudian reality which is the combination of imaginary and symbolic representation. Freud’s reality is structured by the symbolic order. But Lacan’s Real is the aftermath of that reality. It is ‘‘raw materials which have no boundaries, borders, divisions or oppositions’ (34. The child’s maturity enables it to grapple with the outwardness of the other from the self. the child realizes some gap or lacks to make identity and permanence, the child needs language to fill the gap. The Real has its meaning. To construct meaning to the Real, Lacan is saying that one needs to construct a transcendental belief. This transcendental belief is possible only with the registration of the imaginary. This imaginary meaning is not possible to develop and it results in imaginary symbolic meaning. The specular double of the child forms an imaginary world in the mirror stage. He can't distinguish between the self and the other. Together the self and others constitute the imaginary order. The imaginary order lies between two persons, between the child and the mother in the pre-oedipal stage. At this stage, each one tries to be defined by the others that in reality fails. but actually, the patriarchal domination of women stops this imaginary world. The imaginary relation needs symbolic mediation. There comes a third person, the father figure who is also imaginary with whom the child can relate.

This Lacanian concept of Imaginary has been reinterpreted by Luce Irigaray. She believes that the imaginary has been created against the male ego. She has considered the imaginary from the phenomenological interpretation which regenerates the imaginary conception from the production of the mind to the signification of culture. She has talked about both male and female imaginary and her focus is more on female imaginary which is ‘marked by the morphology of the female body, and characterized by the plurality, non-linearity, fluid identity. Like Lacan, she has also included language as a product of the feminine imaginary. Irigaray’s definition of female Imaginary is ‘those components of the mirror that cannot reflect themselves’ (Whitford 5). To Irigaray the symbolic and imaginary world if not separated then only the symbolic world’s transformation possible. The autonomy of the male symbolic space structured the fantasy world that is related to our bodies The fantastic world of women is outside law and rationality in the patriarchal symbolic world where women speak out of their consciousness. This is the reason for women's self-inferiority also often. So Irigaray believes that to change the self-degrading mindset towards body and bodily incarnations, the meaning of the symbolic orders needs to be changed. To extend this notion, Irigaray says that women need a special language, a special mode of expression, thinking capability, and rationality. She does not define this body from the symbolic constitution of male sexual pleasure, but a feminine body can together be emotional and rational. She says, ‘male identity needs to be re-imagined as a specific identity: one of two, not the only one.’(Irigaray19) Psyche, consciousness, and unconsciousness are all bodily parts. Here quoting Margaret Whitford who says, “The imaginary is a ‘magma’ that only becomes molded into definite shape when expressed as a symbolic order.” (A Stone) so to have peace, to get rid of it, women try to find an escape where jouissance helps as a space to escape. So here my interest lies to highlight the dream as an imaginary space of that fantasy world to create to signify the Subjectivity in the story Sultana’s Dreams.

Women are ahistorical. They don’t possess any subjectivity. Subjectivity is a concept that is related to individuality and an individual is a ‘unit in a systemic, historical and collective process of singularization and specialization’ (Rebughini 1). According to the Weberian tradition “the idea of subjectivity is related to the understanding of social action and the intentionality of action’ (Rebughini 1) Feminists have given a new dimension of subjectivity which is ‘embodied subject’ where they have interpreted ‘embodied, private and emotional dimension’ (Rebughini 5) of subjectivity. Feminists mainly grew up in the century with the motto of bringing morality into every sphere of women, from education to political rights and from marriage institutions to the workplace, in every phase woman’s equality is much needed. They want to redefine the sociological concept of subjectivity to make it anew.

Sultana’s Dream

1905 short story Sultana’s Dream is a utopian Science fiction by Begum Rokheya Sakhawat Hossain, a modern Bengali Muslim writer. The novel was written during a time when Muslim women had to be behind the veil. But being a writer of that era, and getting only religious education, Begum Rokheya articulated a fragment of her dream into a literary text and published it in The Indian Ladies' Magazine. This is the first magazine for women in colonial India. In this short story, Rokheya creates a world where women are the supreme authority and men are merely behind the Mardanas because they are 'fit for nothing'. This 1905 story has been presented as a dream sequence where I want to show how the dream has been used as a symbolic language to present the subjectivity of women. The dream is considered a symbolic language that works as a metaphor here to present the subjectivity of the protagonist Sultana’s self. "Rokheya was ahead of her time, critiquing not only the close relationship between science and patriarchy but also that between science and the colonial powers that controlled India at the time of her writing". (Lewton)

One of the traits of metaphor is to help to create images. This metaphorical imagination can transform any impossible or abstract ideas into plausible ones. The metaphorical interpretation of Rokheya’s dream can be interpreted as an image of an almost impossible matter which is to create a fantasy world where women are superior. This point has not been discussed by critics so far and therefore my paper wants to illustrate this symbolic aspect of the dream to present another world where the secret desire of Sultana is to be free and independent from the old traditional bondage of patriarchy. But the symbolic significance of dreams as a metaphor to represent women's subjectivity is completely a new light of research. Symbols are something that presents concepts about other things. William Harman says, “A symbol combines a literal and sensuous quality with an abstract or suggestive aspect” (A Handbook to Literature). Symbolic language is the language that one uses to express some wishes or desires which are not possible to state directly. In this short story, Sultana has communicated through the symbol of a dream. Chatterjee has signified the ‘Ladyland’ as a territorial metaphor to represent the colonial use of the lands. Rokheya has written this science fiction to talk about the capabilities of women in science and also to challenge the patriarchal system. She has criticized the poor male mentality of considering women as inferior. She says, 

“While the women were engaged in scientific research, the men of this country were busy increasing their military power. When they came to know that the female universities were able to draw water from the atmosphere and collect heat from the sun, they only laughed at the members of the universities and called the whole thing “a sentimental nightmare”.’ (Durga bai 20). 

Sara is the thought replica of Sultana and through her character, Sultana is dreaming of a female-dominated society. Throughout the novel, Sara talks about the patriarchal means of subjugating women. The novel questions the superior complexity of males in society. Women are considered the weaker sex both physically and mentally which reflects the weakness of women. To present the imaginary concept, Begum Rokheya creates a land which is known as the ‘Ladyland’.  In literature, we have seen the tendency of creating an imaginary land with the writer’s intention of cherishing their desires which they have kept hidden in their heart as it was not possible to satisfy in the original world. Through Ladyland, the imaginary world of Begum Rokheya, she has expressed her veiled desire. Thus, through the use of Metaphorical language, she tries to show the reality of male society.  This imaginary world is jouissance by Irigaray where Sultana shares her desires with Sara and vice versa. Sultana says,

“I used to have my walks with Sister Sara when we were at Darjeeling. Many a time did we walk hand in hand and talk light-heartedly in the botanical gardens there. I fancied Sister Sara had probably come to take me to some such garden and I readily accepted her offer and went out with her.” (Durga bai 3)

So, Sultana desires to be with Sara to wander the Ladyland where she is free. Her suppressed wishes get their wings with Sara. Sultana receives affection, love, and care from Sara who teaches Sultana to come out from the veiled world. Both in their conversation with each other talk about ‘sweet flowers’. Sultana is very much afraid of stampeding the beautiful soft flowers which Sara solaces positively saying that conditions will be changed in the real world if men change their mindset. Here, I believe ‘sweet flowers’ symbolize the women who are constantly under the foot of men. Sultana is thinking about the possibilities of the important position of women in society. The dream is a sphere of wish fulfillment.

In this Ladyland, gendered - religion does not play any vital role. Love and empathy are the only religion that exists because both Sultana and Sara believe that religion and old traditional belief systems help in incorporating subordination to women's condition. The short story is an ‘epitome of resistance’ against patriarchy. The Metaphorical concept of language used in this novel through the interpretation of dreams employs women’s desire to gain a subjective position in society. The opposite domain Rokheya created by using the word ‘mannish’ typically mocks men’s subordination and drags them directly to the ground where men are considered as shy. Women’s attitudes toward herself have mentioned here. Sara says, ‘You have neglected the duty you owe to yourselves and you have lost your natural rights by shutting your eyes to your interests.’ (Durga bhai 12) This weakness of women is created from their lack of phallus which makes them move towards otherness without the stronghold of any ground. The psychoanalytic giants’ description of the psychosexual dogma of the symbolic signifier fails to frame the uplifted scenario of women’s socio-cultural condition. The lack or loss of the phallic submerges women’s bodily incarnation and social position. “We have no hand or voice in the management of our social affairs. In India man is lord and master, he has taken to himself all powers and privileges and shut up the women in the zenana.” (Durga Bai9)


Thus, to sum up, it can be well understood that Sultana’s jouissance is related to the imaginary world. This imaginary world is always tingling in her subconscious mind and at last, reflects in her dream. In this dream, her construction of that imaginary world and satisfying her desire is possible with Sara, in other terms to herself only. Sara is Sultana herself under another name and with a different thought process through her Sultana established of subjectivity, enters into the symbolic world where symbols help to become her symbolic, a unified self like men. It is a world where she is asking and saying about the poor condition of women and at the same time through her replica Sara, she is answering those queries also. The fake symbolic order of men always keeps women in the confusion about accepting their subjectivity in the real world. By asking the world through her lines and giving answers to herself also she wants to reside in the imaginary world where she is very much independent in laughing, speaking, and to express. Moreover, being a member of a typical Bengal family and learning only the Bengali language during childhood, Rokheya wrote this story in English, giving a modern touch to this short story.


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