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Title: At home in India : geographies of home in contemporary indian novels
Author: Barley, Alexandra Fiona
ISNI:       0000 0001 3445 4439
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis explores the geographies ofhome in contemporary Indian literature in English through an in-depth reading ofmainstream Indian novels by a number ofprominent writers including Anita Desai, Amit Chaudhuri, Shobha De, Shama Futehally, Raj Kamal Jha, Pankaj Mishra, Jaishree Misra, and Rohinton Mistry. Concepts ofhome are explored including identity, self, nation, and how these are reflected in the narratives and genre ofthe novels. Chapter one introduces the thesis by outlining the thematic focus and reviewing the literature on home. Chapter two outlines the reading strategies used in the thesis: concepts ofworldliness and affiliation, to examine the discourses ofhome in the novels. These provide the foundation for the subsequent exploration ofhome in the novels in chapters three, four and five, where each chapter considers 'home' at different scales: self, family, nation and diaspora. Chapter three examines the conflict of identity between the self and the nation in the novels showing the failure of the home. Chapter four considers the family and addresses how the Indian middle classes are adapting to changes in Indian society such as globalisation, and economic and cultural changes. These novels in this chapter demonstrate the ambiyalence ofthe old middle class towards these changes expressed as feelings offear and nostalgia. Chapter five explores how particular groups experience displacement and marginalisation in the nation on the grounds ofcaste, gender and religion. The focus of the novels in this chapter is on the 'State ofEmergency' in the 1970s and the Hindu nationalism of the 1980s and 1990s rendering the changing political situation in India textually. Chapter six focuses on how the gendered discourses ofdaughter, wife and mother place limitations on the spatial mobilities ofthe female protagonists. Through attention to themes of courtship and marriage, the chapter also considers how these Indian novels destabilise the genre ofdomestic novels by portraying protagonists going against the grain ofdomestic discourses by not marrying, or by divorcing. Finally, the conclusion in Chapter Seven draws together these different threads ofhome by placing them in the wider South Asian context in literature and film, and ends with an examination of the film Monsoon Wedding showing how domestic themes are captured on screen.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available