Life in the Diaspora: Growing up Cosmopolitan in Divakaruni’s The Mistress of Spices | Prabal Das Gupta

Life in the Diaspora: Growing up Cosmopolitan in Divakaruni’s The Mistress of Spices | Prabal Das Gupta

Life in the Diaspora: Growing up Cosmopolitan in Divakaruni’s The Mistress of Spices
Prabal Das Gupta

Abstract: A tale about duty and desire, conflict and reconciliation in the lives of the diaspora, is molded in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s The Mistress of Spices. The present paper demonstrates the unevenness in the diasporic life showing the difficulty of the diasporic community, in a cross-cultural ambience, to reconcile with the conflicting entities of their life. Divakaruni epitomizes the spices, appearing emblematic throughout the novel, as the treasure of India, “a mythic place of desire in the diasporic imagination.” This research focuses on how the author depicts an altruistic character like Tilo, who struggles to harmonize herself with the shifting priorities of her life. Her ambivalent soul sways between her egalitarian sense of duty and bodily desire for love. In the midst of turmoil, Tilo settles her mind to “acknowledge the suffering” of all, substantiating that “the smell of charred flesh is the same everywhere.” Finally, the paper concludes with showing how pertaining to “a double consciousness,” the characters, negotiating with the nuances of their inheritance, grow up cosmopolitan, that is “vernacular” in nature, allowing “the local, parochial, rooted, culturally specific” one to live together with the one who is “transnational” and “transcendent.”

Keywords: diaspora, cultural, cosmopolitan, hybridity

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Published in 2017

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