As Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak points out in her introduction, the breast is far more than a symbol in these stories—it is the means of harshly indicting an exploitative social system.
In ‘Draupadi’, the protagonist, Dopdi Mejhen, is a tribal revolutionary, who, arrested and gang-raped in custody, turns the terrible wounds of her breast into a counter-offensive.
In ‘Breast-giver’, a woman who becomes a professional wet-nurse to support her family, dies of painful breast cancer, betrayed alike by the breasts that had for years been her chief identity and the dozens of ‘sons’ she had suckled.
In ‘Behind the Bodice’, migrant labourer Gangor’s ‘statuesque’ breasts excite the attention of ace photographer Upin Puri, triggering off a train of violence that ends in tragedy.
Spivak introduces this cycle of ‘breast stories’ with thought-provoking essays which probe the texts of the stories, opening them up to a complex of interpretation and meaning.