Year

2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts - Research

Department

School of English Literatures and Philosophy

Abstract

This thesis aims at challenging Bharati Mukherjee‘s refusal of the past in the process of self-adaptation in the context of migration. This thesis argues that the past is significant in forming the diasporic identities of the Indian female characters, Dimple Dasgupta and Jyoti Vindh in Mukherjee‘s novels, Wife (1975) and Jasmine (1989). A general concept of diaspora with a particular focus on Asian American diaspora and Indian diaspora is used to explore the positions of the female characters within the framework of migration in the U.S.. These concepts are then related to the concept of double consciousness and the issue of gender, particularly in relation to Indian diasporic women, to investigate the interrelation of past and present in Indian migrant women. The past, in fact, has been articulated differently by Indian migrant men and women. The main female characters in the novels through their struggles to integrate themselves to the American society have especially shown how the past importantly contributes to their present migrant time. The interventions of the past can be traced through the artefacts of the motherland that are carried over during migration and are preserved to ensure the process of self-negotiation in the host land. In addition, Indian tradition affects their adaptation process. Perpetual engagement with Indian tradition inevitably has created an ambiguous situation for these female characters as the past does not only support and secure their process of adaptation but also weakens their positions as Indian migrant women in the host land.

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