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The Diaspora in Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss

Author XingWeiMing
Tutor LiQiaoHui
School Henan University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords diaspora identity hybridity Kiran Desai The Inheritance of Loss
CLC I712.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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The Indian American woman writer, Kiran Desai (1971-), won Man Booker Prize2006for her second novel The Inheritance of Loss (2006). She sets India as the novel’s backdropand writes the novel based on her experiences which she gained when she travelled betweenEast and West. She wrote the novel with the English language rather than the Indian Englishlanguage. She expresses the new voice of modern Indian fiction in her novels and depictssomething of absolutely her own. A famous Indian English writer Salman Rushdie ever saidthat she is a terrific writer in expounding the sufferings of exiles. She has a place in the greatcontemporary Indian authors who study life and society in India and elsewhere after thepublication of her second novel. The novel The Inheritance of Loss took her eight years tofinish. It is a globalized novel of the globalized world. She expresses the humane breadth andpolitical shrewdness in the novel.This paper is planned to analyze the novel The Inheritance of Loss from the perspectiveof diaspora. Diaspora firstly describes the Jewish experience, and then portrays many peoplewho have dispersal or scattering experience. As we are in the course of globalization, thecirculation of immigrants is becoming very frequent. Diaspora, as a cultural phenomenon,usually expresses the situations of those dispersal people. It describes the situations of theimmigrants and circumstances of people who disperse from their original “homelands” toforeign countries. When people stay in one or two more societies, the native culture and thehost culture are in conflict. Their identities are in crisis in the host society. Which identitiesdiasporas should keep concerns the life of scattering people. They can’t stick to the originalidentity, and insist on the identity of the host society. Because they, as “others” in hostcountries, can’t be accepted by the host authority. Because identities are fluid and hybrid, they should have hybridity identities--a cultural mixture.This paper consists of three chapters besides introduction and conclusion. Theintroduction has three parts. The first part gives a brief introduction to the Indian Americanwoman writer Kiran Desai and her novel The Inheritance of Loss. The second part gives ageneral introduction to the literary review of the writer and the novel at home and abroad. Thelast part provides the theoretical framework of the thesis.Chapter One is the connotation of the diaspora. It includes two parts--the definition ofdiaspora and the homeland for diasporic people. We can know of the theory of diaspora anddefine which kind of diaspora characters in the novel belong to through the definition ofdiaspora. The diasporas cannot live a comfortable life in foreign countries and experiencemany travails in the host country. Therefore, there is a desiring for homing in their hearts. Thehome can be their original or imaginary homeland. The homeland is a peaceful land in theirinner hearts and entails their belongings. They can have a rest place and escape from theoutside world there.Chapter Two describes the formation of Indian Diasporas. This chapter is divided intotwo parts--the diasporic formation of the judge and Sai. Though they live in India, they thinkthat West is superior to and more civilized than India. The diaspora of the judge is alienated inthree aspects--mentally paralytic, emotionally blocked and spiritually dead. The formation ofdiaspora of Sai is because of her British education. The colonial education makes her lose hernative identity. They should keep a hybridity identity in order to live well through the analysisof the formation of the Indian diasporic people.Chapter Three describes the formation of diasporic immigrants in New York. Thischapter is composed of three parts. The first part describes the formation of the diaspora Biju,an illegal immigrant, in New York. The second part portrays the formation of the diasporicperson, Saeed Saeed. The third part delineates the formation of the diaspora Harish-Harry, a lawful permanent immigrant. Through the analysis of the formation of the three types ofimmigrants, we conclude that they should keep in-between space, hybrid identity.The last part is the conclusion. Through the analysis of the definition of diaspora and theformation of the diasporas, we find a way to solve the problem of their identities. They shouldhave hybridity identities in the globalized world.

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