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Subjected Subcontinent

Sectarian and Sexual Lines in Indian Writing in English


Eiko Ohira

This book offers a new, complex understanding of Indian writing in English by focusing its analysis on both Indo-Pakistani Partition fiction and novels written by women. The author gives a comprehensive outline of Partition novels in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh written in English as well as an overview of the challenges of studying Partition literature, particularly English translations of Partition novels in regional languages. Featured works include Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice-Candy-Man, Amitav Ghosh’s Shadow Lines, Meena Arora Nayak’s About Daddy, and Sujata Sabnis’s A Twist in Destiny. The book then moves on to a study of novels by women writers such as Githa Hariharan, Kiran Desai, Anita Desai, and Arundhati Roy, exploring their perspectives on sexuality, the body, and the diaspora.
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Chapter 12: Female Bodies in Revolt: Githa Hariharan’s Representation of the Female Body


← 152 | 153 →CHAPTER 12

Female Bodies in Revolt: Githa Hariharan’s Representation of the Female Body

“The Remains of the Feast”: The Female Body in Revolt and Jouissance

“The Remains of the Feast”: Anti-Brahminism in the context of mother-and-daughter fiction

As we have seen already, the question of female subjectivity is of crucial importance for feminist critiques of Indian social mores in more recent Indian English writing. Githa Hariharan is of particular interest in this context because of the way she represents female subject formation in her short story “The Remains of the Feast” (1992) in her own unique style, using striking bodily representations. This text is full of polluting objects which blur the “boundary of the self’s clean and proper body”,1 threatening individuation and selfhood formation, distancing it in signifying the maternal body and in an obsessive gaze at the corpse, “the utmost abjection”, as Kristeva terms it (Kristeva 1982: 4).

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