Patricia McCormick’s Novel Sold | Summary and Analysis
Patricia McCormick’s Novel Sold presents ‘money’ and ‘men’ are the two powerful manipulators of the socio-economic ‘power’ in the outer patriarchal world. Here, most of the female characters suffer from the economic crisis. They are from poor lower class strata. Lakshmi is sold because her family has not enough money to survive though her stepfather expends that money in gambling and alcohol. Monica is in brothel because she has small daughter and other family members to take care, though at last, they discard her from their family. Pushpa is also continuing that profession in spite of her poor health and advanced age because she needs money to rear her two children. And many others are there only for the sake of money and family. Either they are knowingly or unknowingly trapped in the state of commodification only for the sake of money. None of them have courage to revolt and to go against this ‘power’ because they know that if they attempt so, they either violated severely or throw out on the street to starve
Another powerful agent, in the novel, for the commodification of women, is the men. Throughout the novel, they emerge as power holder. Though they are from lower class, whatever they own comes direct under their possession even their women too. They have power to handle their property, they have power to sell their women, they have power to threat, torture and disgrace the women, and they have power to consume and mataterialize women. Consequently, they have power to commodify women relegating them as a second class human being; the non- man. Lakshmi is sold by her stepfather, deceived by Uncle Husband, Pushpa is in prostitution because her husband finished their well-to do status in gambling, and when he refused to take responsibility of them. Moreover, the consumer of all women’s sexuality is also the men. Thus, the men and the money are the basic cause for women’s degradation and commodification in Sold.
Analyzing the relationship between the characters and their specific behaviour inside the Sold, it can be noticed that most of the characters are shaped and guided by patriarchal assumption. They do not consider female as a human being. For them, women are second class inferior half men. They think and behave as women are their possession, as their material property. They relegate women in the state of commodity as if they are marketable goods and evaluate her in terms of her exchange value. Due to such notion, they trade the body and sexuality of the women. In the process, if they deny, they are tortured extremely to the extent of death. It is nothing other than the practice of men to preserve their ‘power’ over women.
If the women of the Sold have the sound economic condition to run their life and family smoothly, probably they would not have been forced to sell their body. They need money for the sake of survival, to fulfil the minimal need of food, shelter, cloth, education, and health. In this sense, it is the economy that forces her to earn money, to sell their sexuality, and due to which, she is evaluated through her monetary value. Likewise, the prevailing social trend and attitude towards female is another fact to objectify them. Throughout the whole plot of novel, men are the sole cause of women’s oppression, exploitation and degradation. Because of such patriarchal socio-economic materialistic circumstances women are objectified, marginalized and exploited, they are treated as a commercial commodity in the grocery, and they are every time either guided or judged or bargained in terms of her market value, from their exchange value. Their ‘self’, ‘dignity’ and ‘emotion’ are everywhere ‘destructed’, ‘crushed’ and ‘sold’.
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