Existentialism versus Traditionalism: Interrogating Jumpha Lahiri’s Diasporic Women Characters
Author(s):
leanora pereira
Keywords:
Diaspora, existentialism, traditionalism, displacement, belonging
Abstract
Literature portrays different issues of society. One such issue is Feminism. Feminist literature is loyal to the cause of women and their role in society. In Diasporic Literature the study of women empowerment offers new avenues for interrogation. In context to this challenging study, Lahiri’s portrayal of Guari in The Lowland and Ashima in The Namesake are worthy of interrogation. Both women have grown up in India, married to Indians and migrated to America. Both women have completely contrasting trajectories. When Simon De Beauvoir published her polemic The Second Sex, little did she know that with this work she would be considered the mother of post 1960s feminism. Her dedication to feminism was her outcry against the French society’s treatment of unmarried mothers. Gauri is a widowed young mother left at the mercy of her in-laws. Her existentialism would be championed by Simone de Beauvoir fans. Posited on the opposite side of Gauri, is Ashima from The Namesake. Both women are on the same journey. Both Bengali women are uprooted from home and have to give a new meaning to their lives in Diaspora. Like Ashima, Gauri too gives birth in an unknown place, married to an austere intellectual Indian. Both are without friends, family or a support network that new families need. Both women lead compelling lives amidst the challenges of Diasporic life. Both are governed by the choices they make. Without rhetoric or circumlocution both women’s journey into Diaspora, exposes the trans-migrants journey across the unknown and conquering the unknown. The lives of both these women are tied in fantastic knots which they are forced to live with and to untangle in Diaspora. This paper interrogates the traditional and existential forces that govern the outcome of both women’s lives.
Article Details
Unique Paper ID: 152957

Publication Volume & Issue: Volume 8, Issue 5

Page(s): 160 - 162
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