A Doll for the Child Prostitute: A Review

Introduction of the Short Story

The shadowy borderline between the fulfillment and the unfulfillment in love has prompted Kamala Das reached for the traces of life. Whether one is judging her writings from the viewpoint having to parade Eliot and Auden in one’s pocket or any other scholarly scrutiny, she always finds her voice delivered.

Her short story A Doll for the Child Prostitute is an amazing presentation that cannot be shaken off on the analysis of women’s struggle for existence.

You must know that in the dark abyss of a woman’s heart are found thousands of inexpressible secrets that she keeps hidden. Kamala Das in a way deconstructs this and unfolds the secrets one by one and rides her Highway to freedom and discloses every event she encounters in her life.

Hey listen,

It’s not the Ralph Roister Doister by Udall(1552) nor Bilbungsroman by Goethe(1795) but the same old story of the stepfather raping the minor girl while her mother was out visiting her relatives.


The wretched and pathetic conditions in the Indian continent force many a girl to take up the sex industry or whoring. In this short story, we find that Anasuya had brought her twelve year old daughter, Rukmani for sale to the brothel house owned by the fat lady Ayee.

Anasuya had lost her husband and was worried as to how she could raise her child without him. And as most young women do, she got a second marriage to another man who happened to be monstrous and rude. Additionally, her living condition didn’t improve with the second espousal.

The child Rukmani looked at her mother with dry eyes when she finally perceived the manoeuvre between her mother and Ayee. She knew that her mother had taken money and tucked into her saree from the fat Ayee in exchange for her stay there at the brothel.

But Why didn’t she cry? kamala das

Rukmani didn’t cry when her mother left her at the brothel house. She was not unhappy about leaving her home. The man who had moved into her home some months ago after her father had disappeared was a beast to her.

He not only beat her mother each night but also took the chance to squeezing her little breasts, hurting her in a devilish devour whenever she was alone in the house.

And, the week before she moved to Mrs Warren’s profession, he had pierced her body so bad that she bled all over the floor.

This has made her unwilling to follow her mother or go back to her home she once belonged.

Holy Moly!

Opposing the saying,”Home Sweet Home! There’s No Place Like Home” is the only option left for Rukmani. There are times when the subtle design of Nature throws you out of control to becoming someone which you never ever thought of.

As we find out in this story, Rukmani had never thought of belonging to a world like the one she has been pushed into. She learns everything and becomes acclimatized with the new found home from Sita, another girl just two years older to her and who has been staying there before her arrival.

She is told by the latter about how men come and do things with them in the nights and how they have to be submissive to every client who visits them.


A Doll in Exchange for Gratification

There’s a remarkable scene involving The Inspector Saheb who is a close friend of Ayee, the owner of the brothel. This inspector looks for only the young girls and his ogling eyes at once fall on the new child Rukmani.He gets and does anything he wants with all the girls in the house.

He has an understanding with Ayee that makes him get any girl with the deal that he is the legal protector and friend of the brothel. In his first encounter with Rukmani after persuading Ayee, he drags the girl child into the interior of the room and throw her on a charpoy and lifts her frock to check her underpants only to add how scornful and contemptuous a brothel is.

Rukmani being so innocent, jeers at him and cries loud and inflicts scratches in his face and struggles to get free. Later, he cajoles her and whispers to her that he will buy a red frock and panties with lace on them.

In the second attempt, the Inspector is very careful and gentle with the young girl. He promises her that he will buy a doll that opens and closes its eyes as he fondles her chubby arms.

He says,”There’s such a doll in a shop at the Churchgate which cries Mummy when you press it on its stomach. It is a foreign doll and costs about a hundred rupees. But i don’t mind spending the money on you if you are kind to me on and off. I love you more than I love anyone else in this world.”

Rukmani feels moved by the words of the man and tells him that he resembles her father who left her and went away. And having said so, she surrenders herself to him.

She feels a slight nausea when she is assailed by the moldy smell of his scalp where white hair grows in untidy patches. But soon she closes her eyes immediately and lays passive, thinking of the foreign doll that costs a hundred rupees.

Kamala Das has vividly shown in this short story about the practice of engaging in promiscuous sexual relations especially due to poverty and other social ills.

Final Opinion

The industry of prostitution is a thriving business. There are a lot of women who go into prostitution out of free choice and it has been an age old institution. However, the government along with the assistance of civil socities and voluntary organisations can come together to stop forced prostitution.

Most of the girls and women who are in the whoring industry are due to abject poverty. Some of them have been kidnapped and still some are made to join forcefully.




It therefore becomes relevant that a new road-map may be worked out to give shelter to the disjoined families taking into account the step sons and step daughters in particular. Laws are man-made and we can always improve what is faulty to the smooth existence of our society.

Like the old age homes and orphanages, we can also enact laws that can drastically reduce Magdalenism and human trafficking that are on the rise.



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