The colonial carnivalesque in Mulk Raj Anand's Untouchable and Amitav Ghosh's Sea of poppies

Thiara, N. ORCID: 0000-0002-6006-4730, 2016. The colonial carnivalesque in Mulk Raj Anand's Untouchable and Amitav Ghosh's Sea of poppies. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 52 (6), pp. 659-671. ISSN 1744-9855

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Drawing on the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, this article argues that the novels Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand and Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh represent the destabilization of traditional, pre-colonial hierarchies, especially those of caste, by employing the mode of the colonial carnivalesque. Their representations of the inversion of caste hierarchies often employ grotesque images involving excrement. This novelistic form of the carnivalesque manifests in images of the world-upside-down, which on the one hand invite laughter or a sense of Schadenfreude towards humiliated high-caste figures, and on the other hand elevate Dalits from the mire and filth with which the upper-castes equate them. The essay analyzes whether the critical representations of Untouchability and caste in these novels amount to a critique of the caste system per se, or whether they are confined to a critique of the practices of Untouchability.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Postcolonial Writing
Creators: Thiara, N.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date: 2016
Volume: 52
Number: 6
ISSN: 1744-9855
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 02 Nov 2016 11:47
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2018 03:00

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