Postcolonialism, Globalization and Cultural Formations in Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth.

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Date: Wntr 2022
From: The Midwest Quarterly(Vol. 63, Issue 2)
Publisher: Pittsburg State University - Midwest Quarterly
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 6,648 words

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Since globalization has influenced almost every stage of individuals and societies lives from the viewpoint of economy, politics and culture, literary works are not likely to be free from the effects of such a process. It is no coincidence that narratives, especially written in the twenty-first century, often bear the traces of globalization either explicitly or implicitly through references to technological and transportation devices such as planes, phones, and recent shipping facilities. Jhumpa Lahiri is among the writers whose literary works merit a deeper analysis predicated upon cultural consequences of globalization that concern the issues of the recent period, often called the Global Age. Weaving her works around a wide range of topics such as parent-child relations of immigrants in an alien land, immigrants struggles for readjustment to a new and unfamiliar cultural milieu, shifting cultural identities between the West and the Orient, Jhumpa Lahiri, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Hemingway Award, has been situated at the root of heated debates in literary circles.

Despite such variety and richness in thematic concerns of her literary texts, Jhumpa Lahiris fiction entails a further discussion with an emphasis on correlation between cultural identity and globalized technologies. Ranasinha (2016) calls attention to the assumption that Lahiris tales of hybridisation and cultural transformation underscore how the processes and consequences of migration can be linked to broader perspectives on globalisation and its cultural effects (p. 267). The reason why globalization penetrates deep into Lahiris works is possibly that she has experienced this process where the global technologies have pervaded almost every region of the world especially in the twenty-first century. It seems inevitable that her fiction has been affected by globalization, and its cultural formations as literary works cannot be isolated from external conditions where they are written. Born in London, having Indian parents from Calcutta, and having lived in America before Rome, Lahiri has been recently living in Rome. Consequently, she is just a typical example and embodiment of liminality on the borders of three continents in the globalized world and probably aware of how globalization and modern technologies affect individuals and nations in terms of culture, cultural interaction and identity.

The main argument of the research deals with Once in a Lifetime, Years End, and Going Ashore from Unaccustomed Earth and raises the possibility of combining Homi Bhabhas concept of hybridity with cultural effects of globalization and concluding that the global and the local are interlocked in an inseparable way. This research will support that argument by referring to planes, phones and shipping opportunities that lead Indian immigrants to switch between the global and the local cultures. Her short stories unfold how globalization establishes a ground for transnational and cross-cultural ties between nations for immigrants on account of transportation and telecommunication technologies. In the narratives, it becomes manifest that homes, cities, fashion turn into a point of intersection where cultural values of the West and the Orient meet and converge and where cultural identités of Indian immigrants assume a hybrid dimension...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A691332569