Reference : Mapping Out the ‘Time Zones’ of Diaspora in Bharati Mukherjee’s Desirable Daughters
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Mapping Out the ‘Time Zones’ of Diaspora in Bharati Mukherjee’s Desirable Daughters
Munos, Delphine mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des langues et littératures modernes > Littérature anglaise moderne et littérature américaine >]
Border-Crossings: Narrative and Demarcation in Postcolonial Literatures and Media
Makokha, J. K. S.
Wawrzinek, Jennifer
West-Pavlov, Russell
[en] Bharati Mukherjee ; India ; Indian Literature ; Diaspora
[en] Although Bharati Mukherjee is famous, or rather infamous, for her shameless embrace of America and its melting-pot ideology, in Desirable Daughters India, the homeland, is unexpectedly made to re-enter the stage of immigrant identity construction. In many respects it would seem that it has now become untenable to represent immigrant identity in terms of a one-directional movement from “India” to “America.”
In Desirable Daughters the rise of India, the accelerated time/space compression of late capitalism, the post-90s paradigm shift in matters of transnational migration, the emphasis on return migrations and the emergence of a new global interaction indeed dramatically outflank Mukherjee’s previous narrative of American “exceptionalism” – which suddenly seems dated by comparison. By portraying the complex transnational network of connections operating between RIs (Resident Indians) and NRIs (Non Resident Indians), Mukherjee’s book gestures towards the “de-spatialization” of immigrant identity construction and its consequent “re-metaphorization” in terms of “time zones.” What is more, the increasingly compelling influence of contemporary India on the Indo-American diasporic subjectivity marks a “back to the future” return of the repressed which temporally repositions migrant identity between a ghostly time of repetition and a “hauntology” of new becomings.
What Mukherjee suggests, I will contend, is that immigrant agency and self-fashioning cannot be associated anymore with the “pioneering spirit” of forward-looking characters that discard their “Indianness” upon (geographical) entry into the West. In my reading of Desirable Daughters the protagonist’s zigzagging path to self-transformation will be emphasized, so that it will become apparent that time has become the fourth space through which new spaces for diasporic identity can be renegotiated.
CEREP (Centre d’Enseignement et de Recherche en Etudes Postcoloniales)
Researchers ; Students

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