• The influential Tamil writer Pudumaippittan turned to the short story to theorize the relationship between literature and society in the late-colonial era. He used the genre’s brevity to compress his portrayals of well-known female types—such as widows, prostitutes, and goodwives—into singular emotional events. This enabled Pudumaippittan to evoke the wider debates about tradition and modernity that these female types commonly represented without affirming the social reformist positions to which they were linked. Through the short story, Pudumaippittan dislodged his portrayals of the Indian woman from existing gender norms, sealing the shift from social realism to modernist realism within the Tamil literary sphere.