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There are distinguishing elements between Sita Sings the Blues and the Ramayana. Firstly, in Sita Sings the Blues, there is scarce information regarding Rama’s banishment and the details that are associated with it. The entire village is distressed by Rama’s banishment, and many of them follow him to the forest. In addition, Lakshmana also accompanies Rama and Sita to inhabit the forest for the fourteen years. Sita, Rama, and Lakshmana run away from the crowd while they are sleeping and then have the opportunity to begin the expedition. The conventional concept of dharma that influences Rama’s brother and Sita to go with him into the forest. They see it as a righteous course of action, regardless of any subsequent consequences that follow.
Dharma is depicted differently in both stories. There is little prevalence of dharma in Padley’s rendition of Sita Sings the Blues. This is because Padley’s main goal is to emphasize the unfair treatment that Sita endured throughout the story in comparison to Padley’s own life. In the Ramayana, the driving force of all situations is dharma. Dharma is the determining factor for every action Rama takes, so much so, that Rama recites exactly the significant function that dharma has in the Ramayana. A prominent quote that Rama makes is, “We should not become too analytical about a friend, nor look too deeply into original causes; but accept only what appears good to us in the first instance, and act on it”. That saying holds significance in the merit of which the Ramayana holds in Hinduism. (Another contrast is the part in which Sita becomes pregnant and is then banished again.
This is different between the two stories. In the epilogue of the Ramayana, it is stated, “…this part of the story is not popular, nor is it considered to be authentic, but a latter-day addition to Valmiki’s version”. Paley strategically places it into her movie because it further highlights more of the unfair treatment endured by Sita. This is used to emphasize her Paley’s own life story for her own objective. Despite the loyalty displayed by Sita, she was not up to Rama’s standards. Following the events of her kidnapping, she is unwelcomed by Rama, in a very similar way how Paley also became unwanted by her boyfriend. Despite her desperate attempt to regain the acceptance of Rama, Sita is unable to do so. Metaphorically speaking, in a way, Sita commits suicide, with the mindset that a wife only purpose is to stick with her husband and do what he says. Paley, on the other hand, after losing her boyfriend, can now look forward to a new life with other prospects. This definitely represents how distinguishable the perspective on women has changed in a modernized world, compared to more traditional ideas of the past.
The Ramayana isn’t intended to display the roles of gender, nor was it intended to create an anti-feminist perspective, but rather to demonstrate the significance it is to obey dharma and to be a virtuous person who commits good deeds. The version that Paley writes doesn’t necessarily focus on the importance of dharma, and I can understand why the Hindu culture may have taken offense to her version of it. The role of women, is very similar to the as the role of men, despite a few distinctions. Both genders are expected to abide by their own dharma and be people with morality and integrity. The Ramayana shows that even in the worst of circumstances, if an individual stick to their dharma, events will eventually pan out fine.