Q.2:- Summarise the concern in both 19th century Europe and India about women reading novels. What does this suggest about how women were viewed?
When women began writing and reading novels, many people feared that they would now neglect their traditional role as wives and mothers, and homes would be in disorder.
Many men were suspicious of women writing novels or reading them. This suspicion cut across communities. Hannah Mullens, a Christian missionary and the author of the Karuna O Phulmonir Bibaran (1852), reputedly the first novel in Bengali, tells her readers that she wrote in secret.
In the 20th century, Shailabala Ghosh Jaya, a popular novelist, could only write because her husband protected her As we have seen in the case of the South, women and girls were often discouraged from reading novels. All this suggests that women were viewed as persons who should be completely controlled by the men in their family and should continue their traditional household duties as wives and mothers.
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