Dangers in the Desert: Jean Arasanayagam’s “The Sand Serpents”


  • Premila Paul, The American College, Madurai, India


This essay analyses Jean Arasanayagam’s depiction of domestic labour abroad (through the consciousness of Nanda during a taxi ride) in “The Sand Serpents.†Unlike the western dream, migration to the Middle East is a means of investment in Sri Lanka for a domestic help. The ultimate dream is to return home. The contrasting images of openness and constriction bring out Nanda’s responses to homeland and desert land; success and failure. The renewed perspective of home privileges normalcy and routine over money and excitement. The essay discusses areas of collision between the workspace of a domestic maid and the private space of the employer that condition power relations and behaviour patterns. The language of communication is rendered irrelevant. Ultimately the story affirms Nanda’s self-knowledge and rootedness in her own homeland.


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Author Biography

Premila Paul, The American College, Madurai, India

Premila Paul teaches English Literature in The American College, Madurai, India. She has also taught Indian Literature and Women’s Literature in USA as a Visiting Professor. She has published essays related to Postcolonial Literature and Women’s Literature and also a book on Mulk Raj Anand. She has been a part of the SCILET (Study Centre for Indian Literature in English and Translation) management team since its inception in 1985.  




How to Cite

Paul, The American College, Madurai, India, P. (2012). Dangers in the Desert: Jean Arasanayagam’s “The Sand Serpents”. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 6(1), 126–131. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/241