Walled in Roles: Woman as a wife and mother in Mohsin Hamid's Moth Smoke (2000)
Keywords:Class-conflict, gender roles, motherhood, gender identity, aggression, male-female gaze
This paper discusses veils and walls in Mohsin Hamid’s novel Moth Smoke (2000) and shows how the woman in the novel, named Mumtaz, responds to her role as a wife and a mother. This essay has three parts: the first part compares the figure of Mumtaz with the seventeenth-century Mughal empress upon whom the character in the novel is based. The second part shows how Mumtaz tries to free herself from the walls of socially assigned roles and resists predetermined gender roles. The third part then analyses how names and titles function as veils to hide the individual behind a constricting network of nomenclature. Acquiring a male pseudonym, Mumtaz, defies the walls of a gender-specific identity.