The concept of feminist literary criticism has been broad and varied from 19th century women authors such as George Eliot and Margaret Fuller to cutting-edge theoretical work in women''s and gender studies. Feminist criticism, started as part of the international women''s liberation movement, studies and advocates the rights of women. Betty Friedan''s "The Feminine Mystique", Kate Millet''s "Sexual Politics" and Virginia Woolf''s "A Room of One''s Own" contributed to the emergence of the new women''s movement. These writers had started a new consciousness-raising movement. In this era Shashi Deshpande has emerged as one of the more sensitive and versatile Indian woman writers with her novels ''The Dark Holds No Terror'', ''That Long Silence'', ''The Binding Vine'' and ‘ROOTS AND SHADOWS''. This book attempts an analysis of the female characters in Deshpande''s fiction that tries to reconcile the basic tenets of feminism with contemporary Indian reality. In addition, the book briefly examines the depiction of Deshpande''s male characters, for contrast. It also focuses upon her perception and attitude towards the human condition in general and her contribution as a writer.