Existential Alienation and the Indian Diaspora: An Approach to the Writings of Anita Desai, Bharati Mukherjee, Sunetra Gupta, and Jhumpa Lahiri.
The essay explores the points of convergence between existential alienation and diasporic alienation through the fictional works of Anita Desai, Bharati Mukherjee, Sunetra Gupta, and Jhumpa Lahiri. It shows that the creation of identity and self-fashioning by the Indian diaspora are processes akin to the creation of essences by human beings for their existence. It investigates Sartreâ€™s â€œbeing-in-itselfâ€?, â€œbeing-for-itselfâ€?, and â€œbeing-in-the-worldâ€? from the diasporic perspective to show that the enormous freedom invested on human beings is crucial in making choices of multiple identities in diasporic life. The essay further goes on to Camusâ€™s concept of â€œabsurdismâ€? to explain the need for creating values and meaning in an indifferent postmodern world to survive the predicament caused by displacement. It brings out the existential nature of the paradoxes inherent in diasporic life. This marriage of a currently out-of-favour philosophy known for its universality with a relatively in-favour theory known for its specificity is done so as to acknowledge an alternative perspective. Thereby it also broadens the critical space for examining the literary representation of the Indian diaspora.
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