Unreal Homes: Belonging and Becoming in Indian Women Narratives

Sofia Cavalcanti
2018 Humanities  
In an epoch which has to do fundamentally with space, the concept of home has entered the epistemic scene, both as a commodity and a discursive formation. Contemporary Indian women writers, who are a major facet of present Anglophone literature, have often chosen the domestic sphere as the structural framework of their stories. However, despite the traditional idea of home as a static physical site where women's lives unfold, a more complex and fluid concept emerges from their narratives. After
more » ... discussing conflicting definitions of home both as a site of belonging and becoming, I will provide a comparative analysis of the short story Mrs. Sen's by Jhumpa Lahiri and the novel Ladies' Coupé by Anita Nair. By looking at the transitional spaces inhabited by the women protagonists—respectively, the diasporic space in the U.S. and a train car in India—I will show how home is a psychic-inhabited place taking shape in memory, imagination, and desire. In conclusion, home is an unreal site at the core of women's subjectivities, transcending the physicality of the homeland or the household and assuming a metonymic significance. Its inward or outward-moving force gives birth to "homeworlds" made of liminal paths where new possibilities of identity construction are produced.
doi:10.3390/h7040133 fatcat:n5qduk5mbbe2ref36waridlame