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Experimenting Cultures in Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss

“Spiru Haret” University, Bucharest, Romania


CP, Number 15


No. 15 (2010)  Editorial


The purpose of the article is to compare and contrast the modality in which two main characters of Kiran Desai’s novel, The Inheritance of Loss, experiment cultures, their native Indian culture and the ones they embrace as foreigners / migrants, namely U.K. and U.S.A.

The former of these characters, Biju, represents an atypical migrant portrait: confronted with the classical scenario of migration, he refuses to comply with it, his American experience ending with the heretic Non-Serviam and thus his return to India, his native land. The cultural constructs of his discourse are built by following the trajectory of his defying what a typical migrant would have blindly followed: his reasons for not accepting the route to a new and borrowed identity as well as the identity consequences of “the route not taken.” The other character, Jemubhai Patel, builds the discourse of the two cultures by means of stereotypes: the English native’s superiority versus the foreigner’s/Indian’s necessary cultural inferiority, in a perfect colonial logics. What deconstructs the seemingly predictable colonial discourse is the character’s identity crisis that manages to disrupt the previously set values, questioning their validity and suggesting a probable reversal of opinions. What brings them together is the atypical treatment of the other’s perception, against the common acceptance of the other’s being necessarily better, more rewarding and definitely more satisfactory than the native living pattern.


(post)colonialism, cultural discourse, globalization, identity.

Code [ID]:

CP201015V00S01A0009 [0003331]

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