n Scrutiny2 - Being a foreigner ... is a sort of lifelong pregnancy: interrogating the maternal and the diasporic in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake

Volume 24 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0041-5359



This article is concerned with the gendered aspect of the diaspora as portrayed in Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Namesake (London: HarperCollins, 2003). It explores how Lahiri charts a mother’s experience of (dis)location and the simultaneous confrontation of a series of contradictions, namely homeland and host land, tradition and transformation, remembering and remaking home. Reading the novel in the light of diaspora theories, this article examines how these dualities leave the gendered diasporic subject fragmented, while evaluating the ways in which characters come to terms with this fragmentation, reconciling fractured selves. I will argue that in Lahiri’s depiction these dualities are necessarily perceived through the prism of the maternal. Additionally, I will consider how the novel foregrounds a gendered experience of the diaspora in which the meaning of home is saturated in the maternal, be it the home one leaves or the home one remakes in the host land.

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