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The Management of Grief


The Management of Grief Sean Deskin Laura Herrero Ruiz Geanina Diana ueric Introduction Bharati Mukherjee s Management of Grief was first published in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Management of Grief

The Management of Grief
  • Sean Deskin
  • Laura Herrero Ruiz
  • Geanina Diana Suerica

  • Bharati Mukherjees Management of Grief was
    first published in 1988 in the collection The
    Middleman and Other Stories, and it won the 1988
    National Book Critics Circle Award.
  • The Management of Grief tells the story of
    Shaila Bhave, an Indian Canadian Hindu who has
    lost her husband and two sons in the bombing and
    crash of 1985s Air India Flight 182.
  • The clumsy intervention of a government social
    worker represents the missteps of the Canadian
    government in the general handling of the

  • Because Mukherjee was born in India and had lived
    in Canada from 1966 to 1980 with Clark Blaise,
    her husband, she had a deep personal response to
    the crash.
  • She was enraged by the Canadian governments
    interpretation of the crash as a foreign,
    Indian matter when the overwhelmingly majority
    of the victims were Canadian citizens.

  • The Sorrow and the Terror is a non-fictional
    precursor to The Management of Grief, tallying
    up the human costs of the escalations of
    intra-ethnic Indian conflict whose reach does not
    exempt the countrys North American emigrants. As
    Shaila laments We, who stayed out of politics
    and came half way around the world to avoid
    religious and political feuding, have been the
    first in the New World to die from it.

  • Born on July 27, 1940 to wealthy parents in
    Calcutta, India
  • In 1948, her family moved to England. They stayed
    there for three years before returning to
  • After getting her B.A from the University of
    Calcutta in 1959 and her M.A. in English and
    Ancient Indian Culture from the University of
    Baroda in 1961, she went to the United States of

  • Having been awarded a scholarship from the
    University of Iowa, earned her M.F.A. in Creative
    Writing in 1963 and her Ph.D. in English and
    Comparative Literature in 1969.
  • On September 19, 1963 she married Clark Blaise.
  • She has won several grants and awards from the
    Canadian government, universities, and the
    Guggenheim Foundation the National Magazine
    Award in 1981, the first prize from the
    Periodical Distribution Association and in 1988
    the National Book Critics Circle Award.
  • Mukherjee's career a professor and her marriage
    to Blaise Clark has given her opportunities to
    teach all over the United States and Canada.
    Currently she is a professor at the University of
    California, Berkeley.

I am an American, not an Asian-American. My
rejection of hyphenation has been called race
treachery, but it is really a demand that America
deliver the promises of its dream to all its
citizens equally.
  • Novels
  • The Tigers Daughter (1971)
  • Wife (1975)
  • Jasmine (1989)
  • The Holder of the World (1993)
  • Leave It to Me (1997)
  • Desirable Daughters (2002)
  • The Tree Bride (2004)

  • Short story collections
  • Darkness (1985)
  • The Middleman and Other Stories (1988)
  • Memoir
  • Days and Nights in Calcutta (1977 with Clark

  • Non-fiction
  • The Sorrow and the Terror The Haunting Legacy of
    the Air India Tragedy (1987, with Clark Blaise)
  • Political Culture and Leadership in India (1991)
  • Regionalism in Indian Perspective (1992)

Historical context
  • AIR INDIA 182

  • Air India Flight 182
  • was an Air India flight operating on the
    Montreal-London-Delhi route.

  • On June 23, 1985, Air India Flight 182 from
    Montreal to London, carrying passengers and
    luggage loaded in Vancouver, exploded and crashed
    into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland.
  • All 329 people on board were killed.
  • The same night, a suitcase loaded in Vancouver
    onto Canadian Airlines Flight 003 exploded in the
    Narita, Japan airport as it was being transferred
    to Air India Flight 301.

  • Two baggage handlers were killed and four
    additional people were injured.
  • Since that time, the incidents have been under
    investigation by various agencies from around the
    world. In October 27, 2000 15 years after the
    investigation into the Air India tragedy began
    Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, both
    Sikh militants and residents of British Columbia,
    were arrested in connection with the bombings.

  • On April 28, 2003, the trial of the two main
    accused in the Air India case, began in the
    Supreme Court of British Columbia, in a special
    courtroom in Vancouver.
  • Prosecutors say that the bombings were the
    act of a group of Sikh separatists based in
    Vancouver that conspired to get revenge on the
    Indian government for the Indian army's 1984
    attack on Sikhism's holiest shrine, the Golden
    Temple in Amritsar, India.

Monument and playground in Stanley Park,
Vancouver, commemorating victims of Flight 182,
dedicated July, 2007.
A Commemorative plaque, presented to the citizens
of Bantry, Ireland by the Canadian Government for
their kindness and compassion to the victims of
Air India Flight 182.
Mukherjee My husband, Clark Blaise, and I wrote
a nonfiction book The Sorrow and the Terror
  • We interviewed all the terrorist cells,
    including an interview with the guy who financed
    the bombing and has just this November finally
    been arrested. We talked to the bereaved also.
    The book was a nonfiction bestseller in Canada.
    We were under death threat for two years.
  • When I sat down to write The Middleman and
    Other Stories as a collection of stories about
    diaspora, "The Management of Grief" came out in
    one sitting. It was a very sad story to write.
    And I might have been on that plane if I had not
    moved to the U.S. in 1980. I would very
    definitely have been on that plane. And a good
    friend of mine, a woman that I'd gone to college
    with in Calcutta, died on that plane. So, it was
    a very personal kind of grief for me.

  • MOYERS What did you learn about the mentality of
    the terrorist?
  • MUKHERJEE Most importantly, I think it was about
    the fear of the religion in Diaspora.
    Modernization is what the group of terrorists and
    fundamentalists, religious fundamentalists, were
    afraid of.
  • They were afraid that girls, Canadian Sikhs,
    American Sikhs girls in tight sweaters and boys
    in fast cars, would somehow not follow the rules
    that the religion had set, or the society,
    religious society had set. And that therefore,
    the religious leaders would lose control.

Legacy of Terror The Bombing of Air-India
(1999) by the Canadian filmmaker Shelley Saywell
  • The film is based on the June 1985 bombing of
    Air-India Flight Nº 182 in which 329 people
  • Parallel stories are told as Saywell takes us
    inside the families who lost children in the
    bombing and then slowly explains who did the
    bombing and how they got away with it.
  • It is dedicated to all 329 people who died aboard
    the fatal flight.

  • "The families want their stories and loss to be
    acknowledged in the country they have come to
    call their homeland," says Saywell.

  • In The Management of Grief Mukherjee focuses on
    its effects on women. Women are confronted with
    the problem of mourning.
  • Shailas main roles are that of mother and wife.
    The patriarchal conventions of the majority of
    the world (women stay home, cook and tend the
    children etc.) are compounded by the specific
    regulations of Indian culture.
  • The tragedy of the crash makes the unseen but
    ubiquitous veil of female oppression palpable,
    challenging the affected women to break free.
  • Transformation the tragedy is the agent of
    productive transformation, forcing Shaila to
    reexamine her patriarchally bound life.

  • Once upon a time we were well-brought up
    women we were dutiful wives who kept our heads
    veiled, our voices shy and sweet.

  • The central symbol for Canada . . . Is
    undoubtedly Survival, la SurvivanceIt is a
    multi-faceted and adaptable ideaCan also suggest
    survival of a crisis or disaster, like a
    hurricane or a wreckBut the main idea is the
    first one hangin on, staying alive.
  • Margaret Atwood. Survival a Thematic Guide to
    Canadian Literature

Collective Identity Versus Personal Identity
  • The tragedy of Flight 182 forged a new bond
    between Indian Canadians. As Shaila says of the
    afflicted, Weve been melted down and cast as a
    new tribe.
  • Though Shaila and the couple do manage to
    communicate, Mukherjee makes it clear that they
    communicate on the basis of their mutual loss,
    not their mutual Indian-ness.
  • Her dropping of the package signals her release
    from being stuck in mind-numbing mourning and its
    associations with oppressive Indian-ness. She
    says A wife and mother begins her life in a new
    country, and that life is cut short. Rather than
    figure out how to be that same Indian wife and
    mother, she ventures out into a new direction.

  • As a result of Indian Canadians being lumped
    together as a group, individuals lose their
    personal identity. They are considered as part or
    representative of a group rather than as unique
    individuals with diverse needs. Collective
    identity is substituted for personal identity.
    Members of ones own ethnic groups also
    perpetuate this notion.

Melting Pot Vs Mosaic Assimilation Versus
  • The Management of Grief supports a vision of
  • It is positioned against the idea of
    multiculturalism, Canadas official cultural
    policy because of divided ethnic communities that
    are reluctant to communicate with each other.
  • Mukherjee and others have characterized these
    communities as ethnic ghettoes that discourage
    new immigrants from creatively adapting to a
    strange land or even just learning English.
  • Mukherjee has been both criticized and praised
    for being an assimilationist.

  • Do you all find any differences/similarities with
    the ways the characters in the story go through
    the grieving process with your own respective
    cultures grieving processes?
  • Can you identify any elements of racism within
    the Indian-Canadian characters presented in the
  • Whom do you find to be the most sympathetic
    character in the story? Whom do you find to be
    the least sympathetic?
  • What do you think that the author suggests about
    Indian-Canadian society by the end of the story,
    is it a positive outlook or is it a negative one?
  • Do you think Shaila offers a productive model of
    Indian Canadian living?