Ambivalence of power relations and resulting alienation and identity crisis in Kiran Desai’s the inheritance of loss

Muhammad Asim Mahmood, Faiza Noureen


This research paper focuses on the ambivalence of power relations and ensuing alienation and identity crisis in Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss. The intricate and inevitable nexus of power relations, which are guiding and molding most of the human considerations on their terms, ask for the demystification of the inherent ambivalence of the power relations and their psychological impacts. Drawing on the theoretical standpoints of Homi K. Bhabha and Jacques Lacan, the prime concern of this research concentrates on the idea of ambivalence of the colonial discourse in order to reveal the intrinsic complexity of the power relations and the way they determine the human psyche with its aim to unravel the human susceptibility towards them. This paper asks about the implicit nature of the correlation between both of the stakeholders of the colonial discourse and how this ambivalent and manifold relation is significant in Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss by using Bhabha’s concept of ambivalence and mimicry along with Lacan’s model of identity. This work also avows how the imbalanced power relations can guide towards alienation and identity crisis. To interpret the ambivalence of the power relations and the way they affect the ‘self’ in Desai’s text the methodology adopted for this study is hermeneutics for the dialogical interpretation and deeper understanding of ambivalence with the help of the conceptual framework offered by postcolonial theory with its shared roads with postmodernism.

Key Words: Post colonialism; Ambivalence; Alienation; Identity Crisis; Self; Discourse; Globalization

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