HEGEMONIC MASCULINITY, PATRIARCHAL DOMINATION AND WOMEN’S RESISTANCE IN SYED WALIULLAH’S TREE WITHOUT ROOTS
Patriarchal society’s figureheads very often endeavor to control women to establish their dominance. At times they use conventional concepts regarding gender roles, legitimized by the society, to force women into acting in a designated manner. Based on such roles, they divide women into the ‘madonna’ and the ‘whore’. This dichotomy acts as the axis of power for those who wish to dehumanize women and manipulate their actions. A very similar notion can be seen in Syed Waliullah’s novel Tree Without Roots. As we go through the novel, we see how the protagonist Majeed uses the existing concept of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ behavior to categorize different women as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and ultimately controls their fate. He also misuses and misinterprets some religious practices such as Sufism for his materialistic gains. This paper shows how Majeed being the upholder of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ forces all the women in the novel to be subordinated under him. It is also seen how he, together with few other male characters, objectify and dehumanize women in the novel and thus makes the process of subordinating even smoother. Besides, the paper also focuses on how the subordinated women offer resistance to the fearsome tyrant, thus ending the novel with a sliver of poetic justice.