The Dutiful Daughter | Analyse

The short story “The Dutiful Daughter” by Saadat Hasan Manto, takes the form of a story within at story. By that it contains an outer story and an inner story.

It was published in 1990 in English, but the original was published in 1948. The text is written by Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955) and he was a Pakistan author, born in what was then the British India.

His writing includes both short story’s and play and many of his stories are about the division between India and Pakistan, which happened as a continuation of the British Empire releasing their Indian colonies.

Narration + point of view
Language and style
Theme and message

The story is told right after the partition of former British India. The separation of the country took place in 1947 when it got divided into, India and Pakistan, two new independent countries.

In the start of the story you read the outer-story where you hear about the difficulties in refugee camps and the volunteers’ effort, in both countries, of trying their best to make things good again and help each other.

After that the inner-story begins and it takes place in India, in different places and cities where the liaison officer helps the volunteers finding the missing Pakistani women and children.

And that is where the liaison officer meets the Pakistani old woman looking for her daughter. The story takes place in three different places overall.

The first place is where the first encounter happens between the officer and the old woman “in the suburbs of Jullandar”. The second place and encounter are at a bus stop in Saharanpur. The last place and encounter are in Amrisar.

All of these three cities are not close to each other, at all, and that is where you can tell that the old woman is dedicated and obsessed to find her daughter.


There are three main characters in this story: The narrator, the liaison officer and the old woman. The narrator in the outer story criticizing the British India separation of India and Pakistan and the way the society lives in the cities.

He does not agree with the treatment of the refugees The narrator appears in the outer story. He is unnamed and in general we do not get a lot of information about him.

We do not know his identity or his culture, but he seems to be critical of the results of the partition of British India.

We know that this narrator is given information by a man looking for abducted Pakistani women in India. If we look at his inner characterization, he seems to criticize the society he lives and the division.

The liaison officer is the narrator and one of the main characters in the inner story. We only get a few details about him.

He is a mediator between India and Pakistan and works to benefit both countries and he spend all his time in India looking for Pakistan women who were abducted.

If we look at his inner characterization, he works a lot to find these women and when he meets the old women he tries to convenience her that her daughter is dead.

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