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THE EFFECTS OF COLONIALISM ON SOUTH ASIAN IMMIGRANT LITERATURE: GENDER IN JHUMPHA LAHIRI’S THE INTERPRETER OF MALADIES AND BHARTI MUKHERJEE’S JASMINE

Raza, Saif (2013) THE EFFECTS OF COLONIALISM ON SOUTH ASIAN IMMIGRANT LITERATURE: GENDER IN JHUMPHA LAHIRI’S THE INTERPRETER OF MALADIES AND BHARTI MUKHERJEE’S JASMINE. Masters thesis, Radford University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines two South Asian immigrant narratives, Bharti Mukherjee’s Jasmine and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, through Abdul R. JanMohamed’s framework for colonial literature. I argue that these works deviate from the traditional understanding of immigrant narratives, due to the colonialism’s impact in South Asia. To prove this, I demonstrate how the South Asian immigrants do not struggle with the criteria William Boelhower delineates in his work “The Immigrant Novel as Genre.” Then I argue that these two texts are examples of symbolic colonial literature as they create hierarchal binaries between the Americans and the South Asians. To demonstrate these binaries, I examine gender roles in the first and second generation of the immigrants. First, I examine differences in masculine performances, arguing that Lahiri and Mukherjee are responding to colonial portrayals of effeminate Indian men. Then, I examine the differences in feminine performances, arguing that South Asian women are portrayed as inferior to American women. After examining gender roles and demonstrating how these two works differ from the traditional immigrant narrative, I conclude that they are examples of symbolic colonial literature.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Saif Raza
Date Deposited: 30 May 2013 18:14
Last Modified: 30 May 2013 18:14
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/105

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