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The Rajahs of the Western World My mother who grew up in Sri Lanka was shocked to hear the way I dealt with my boyfriend on the telephone She proceeded to give me a talk on how a woman should achieve what she wants through womanly means and that it is imperative for every relationship that the stereotypical gender roles are at least superficially preserved Indeed she told me that this was the only way a relationship could survive This fluttering around men is something every female does starting with the father and the brothers and later the husband - in Sri Lanka at least twenty years ago every man is a rajah a prince in his house Having lived in Austria I would have said this is not the case here however when one takes time to study people it becomes clear that although both legal and social rules may be liberal there are still many relationships that are based on the concept of spoiling the man The reason I am addressing this topic is because it features very prominently in both Ibsens The Wild Duck and Millers Death of a Salesman although both plays centre around Hialmar Ekdal and Willy Loman respectively it is not their strength that their families rely on Although both fancy themselves as the successful breadwinners it is their wives who make ends meet - yet all is done so that Hialmar and Willy can believe and live in their dreams they are the mollified husbands Although Hialmar was spoilt by his aunts who took care of him it seems that both he and Willy got used to being mollified by their wives The personality of Gina and Linda are much the same They both love their husbands and try to manage their affairs so that they do not worry the men Gina and Linda both do the accounts in the house remembering payments and
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