Toru Dutt: Poetry

The Ballad of Savitri: A Critique of a Critique College

The act of revisiting the past is akin to responding to the texts that exist there in a particular culture. Since this culture is ever evolving, so is the understanding of the text. The socio-cultural changes that are brought with time lead one to look at old texts again for often there is a possibility of a newer meaning. One myth that resurfaces time and again in Indian literature is the myth of Savitri. This particular text (“The Ballad of Savitri”) attempts to look at the subversive elements of the original myth. The central idea of this essay is that in the poem “The Ballad of Savitri” by Tory Dutt, Savitri is shown as a woman of agency despite conforming to patriarchal norms and performing her duties within the parameters of a dogmatic society.

Toru Dutt was one of the poets who, like Derozio, did not live up to maturity. There were a few problems with her works. Much of her poetry was an imitation of English poets, and this was quite evident. If one is to apply the author-centred approach to this text, this element would surface time and again in the poem. There are many romantic elements in her poems, and “The Ballad of Savitri” is no different. However, it is interesting to note that through these romantic elements,...

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