2016_3_Kelle Stephanie 1
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Female Identity, Sexuality, and National Identity in Postcolonial Indian Literature Submitted by Stephanie Catherine Kelle A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts. Northeastern State University May 2015
|Title||Female identity, sexuality, and national identity in postcolonial Indian literature|
|Author||Kelle, Stephanie Catherine|
Women and literature--India--History--20th century.
Umrigar, Thrity N.--Criticism and interpretation.
Mahāśvetā Debī, 1926---Criticism and interpretation.
Roy, Arundhati--Criticism and interpretation.
Authors, Bengali--20th century--Criticism and interpretation.
|Abstract||In order to create a national identity of India and protect traditional values from the pervasiveness of western culture, nineteenth-century anticolonial nationalists developed a dichotomy of material/spiritual where it charged men with navigating the western material domain and females with protecting the spiritual domain. Women’s identities have become shaped by their roles and expectations within the spiritual. However, this gender model does not fit all Indian women, and in fact, it creates major problems for personal identity, especially among the lower-classes and the societally marginalized. While the binary was developed in the nineteenth-century, it still persists even into present day, and the struggle with these expectations is best demonstrated through literature written by current female authors. Thrity Umrigar, Mahasweta Devi, and Arundhati Roy create characters who must contend with these cultural and national expectations. Rather than blindly fulfilling their gender roles, the characters attempt to create their own identities as a way to not only persevere in this patriarchal construct but to also find personal happiness. In this thesis, I examine how female authors deal with such expectations. Their works demonstrate how the expectations of nationalism helped to establish individual identity as well as national identity. Yet, they also prove that nationalism has failed to represent and protect all of its citizens.|
|Department/Program||Languages and Literature|
|Publisher||Northeastern State University|
|Keywords||Women authors, India, nationalism|