From National to Transnational: Three Generations of South Asian American Women Writers
This article examines a representative sampling of canonical South Asian American texts –Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine (1989), selections from Chitra Divakaruni’s short story collection Arranged Marriage (1986), and two short stories – “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine” and “Mrs. Sen’s” – from Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies (2000). Although all three authors are increasingly taught within American classrooms, the pedagogical approach to their texts is often framed by binary oppositions that privilege a modern America over a traditional India. By viewing these localised US texts from a transnational perspective, my article disrupts their pre-occupation with an idealised American national identity. As my reading illustrates, it is imperative to foreground the transnational elements in these writers inorder to show how each of their narratives can be read as counter to the hegemony of the overtly national paradigm it appears to uphold.
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