Subversion of Romance in Sadat Hasan Manto’s Bu
The given paper examines Sadat Hasan Manto’s short story Bu, through the lens of subversion of romance. Bu was deemed highly controversial when it was published due to its sexual overtones and the frank exploration of man-woman physical relationship. Manto has often been equated with D. H. Lawrence in his treatment of sex and sexuality and Bu, along with other writings landed Manto in court. Seen today, it is one of the finest pieces of writing in the genre of the Urdu short story and this short story is popular in Urdu as well as in translation. In the story, the hero’s perception of sexual experience is surprisingly rooted to a domain that leaves hardly any trace in Romantic history, to the fleeting realm of odour or scent. It is through the exploration of odour or scent that the hero compares two women in his life, whom he meets at different points of time. The odour becomes a commonality in the space-time continuum in the hero’s life yet it helps to differentiate every other relationship, or rather the insufficiency of every other relationship, how socially sanctified it might be. Manto does not compare merely two women, it is the artist at work, who pulls down the shams of romantic images associated with relationships. The paper uses the tool of the subversion of romance to study this effect.
Copyright (c) 2015 Dr. Amrita Basu
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