March'21

The IUP Journal of English Studies

Focus

For Russian linguist and literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin, carnival is an occasion where all rules, restrictions, and regulations of everyday life and especially all forms of hierarchy in the society are temporarily suspended. As the world, albeit for the duration of the carnival, stands on its head, irreverence takes centerstage and people, who are otherwise normal, proper, glum, and compliant, drop their carefully cultivated pretensions and inhibitions and turn reckless and knockabout, giving free rein to their wild side. Thus, carnivals, imbued with ambivalent laughter, sybaritic decadence, defilement of sacred, and overturning of authority, allow people to interact freely and behave spontaneously, creating in the process a sense of freedom, equality, and belonging among the performers as well as the spectators.

Carnival has been central to the cultural life of the Caribbean islands. It is an occasion for bringing together the different aspects of the cultural identity of the region, with its mottled mix of ethnicities, religions, languages, traditions, gender equations, politics, sports, and food. Carnival-made their own by the islanders-has helped them form a composite cultural identity and a healthy society after independence. It offers a playful diversion from the monotony of their daily life, an opportunity for purging their pent-up passions, and a chance to express pride in their individuality and values.

Ashma Shamail, in her paper, discusses, with reference to Paule Marshall's The Chosen Place, the Timeless People, how the ritual of carnival and the process of storytelling serve as a spiritual bridge, connecting the individuals and communities in Bourne Island, a tiny imaginary landscape set in the Caribbean, and giving the "other" a distinct identity and a sense of belonging to hold their own psychologically, socially, and culturally.

Books are repositories of human experience, knowledge, and wisdom. And reading books does indeed make one a full (wo)man, as Francis Bacon famously put it. Matilda, the title character of Roald Dahl's Matilda, is a case in point. When the extraordinary Matilda-who could speak perfectly at the age of one and a half, had taught herself to read by studying the newspapers and magazines that lay around her house at the age of three, and could read fast and well at the age of four-asks her father Mr. Wormwood whether he could buy her a book, her gormless father wonders loudly, "A book? . . . What d'you want a flaming book for?" "To read, Daddy" is Matilda's matter-of-fact reply. Susan Lobo, in her paper, revisits Dahl's much-loved classic and explores the transformative power of reading of serious literature in the life of Matilda, using the concepts of theory of mind and narrative imagination.

Novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand defines her philosophy thus: [It], "in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." Rand calls her philosophy "Objectivism," or simply "a philosophy for living on earth." Sugeetha K and M G Priya compare psychologist Abraham Maslow's romantic vision of a self-actualized human being and Rand's visualization of an ideal human being and show how the characters in Rand's Atlas Shrugged address the dichotomies of life using reason and productive achievement for their wellbeing and happiness.

Maninder Kapoor explains how Arundhati Roy, as an unwavering voice of dissent, adroitly uses "inversion" as a narrative technique in her novel The God of Small Things to foreground the "small things" with a view to turning the spotlight on the "big things," i.e., various forms of oppression, discrimination, marginalization, and injustice that are affecting the rights and lives of the underprivileged and disadvantaged sections of the society.

V Vidya elucidates how Salman Rushdie's portrayal of the character Boonyi in his Shalimar the Clown comprises the duality of woman-her objectified existence in the traditional mold and her attempts to extricate herself from the patriarchal impositions-with particular focus on Boonyi's "third-phase," her return from Max's captivity to her village and her subsequent exile, using Simone de Beauvoir's construct of "becoming" and Minh-Ha's "made-woman."

To Roman Jakobson, the act of communication is not an isolated act and requires, for its success, six interacting factors, each with a specific function: addresser, addressee, context, message, code, and contact. The absence of any of these factors leaves communication dysfunctional, i.e., communicating a message that is different from the one originally intended. Eman K Mukattash brings a Jakobsonian approach to J M Coetzee's Age of Iron and illustrates how the factor-function equation is intentionally broken by Coetzee to convey a message different from what he seems to be telling the reader-a hidden message that can be unearthed if the act of communication in the novel is read in the light of Jakobson's communication model.

A schema is a cognitive framework, and our mind creates a number of schemata and modifies and finetunes the existing ones to make it easier for us to interpret the vast amount of information and situations we come across in the world. And our self-schema is the framework or self-definition that comprises our beliefs and experiences based on our physical and psychological traits. Mahdi Qasemi Shandiz, Zohreh Taebi, and Roghayeh Farsi examine, using Peter Stockwell's schema theory, the question of identity in a posttraumatic condition and the influence of modern-to-postmodern transition on the reformulation of the self, with reference to the nameless protagonist of Tom McCarthy's novel Remainder, who loses his memory in an unspecified accident.

The gulf countries like the UAE and Qatar remain the favorite destinations for the unqualified Nepali job aspirants, who are mostly employed at construction sites in these countries. However, what these Nepali migrants, who leave their nondescript hearth and home behind in search of money and better life, get to face in the gulf region is low wages, callous exploitation, and inhuman treatment. In fact, there has been a steady rise in the number of deaths of Nepali workers in the gulf countries. A report claims that the Nepali workers employed in building the infrastructure in Qatar, the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, died at a rate of one every two days in the year 2014 alone due to workload, poor and unhygienic accommodation provided, and physical and mental stress. Sireesha Telugu analyzes, using a few documentary films on the Nepali labor-diaspora in the Gulf as cultural texts and Michael Rothberg's traumatic realism as framework, the three forms of the Nepali trauma-physical trauma, psychological and emotional trauma, and financial trauma- and the resultant fractured identities of the Nepali diaspora.

An inaugural speech is delivered at the beginning of a term of office that outlines the newly elected leader's agenda based on the promises made during the election campaign, often striking a dignified note of reconciliation to heal the past wounds and promote the culture of dialogue in the body politic. Isaiah I Agbo and Kingsley O Ugwuanyi scrutinize Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari's inaugural speech delivered on 29 May 2015, employing the pragma-cognitive model of association and dissociation proposed in Anna Wieczorek's clusivity theory, and conclude that Buhari's much-publicized claim, "I Belong to Everybody and I Belong to Nobody," in the said speech is debatable in the light of the evidence of association and dissociation in the text.

-Venkatesan Iyengar
Consulting Editor

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Ritualistic Carnival: Storytelling, Remembrance, and Celebration of History in Paule Marshall's The Chosen Place, the Timeless People
50
"What D'You Want a Flaming Book for?": Matilda Revisited
50
The Resolution of Dichotomies in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged
50
The God of Small Things Versus the Devil of Big Things: Narrative Technique and Arundhati Roy
50
Sighs of Becoming: A Study of Boonyi's Third-Phase in Salman Rushdie's Shalimar the Clown
50
Writing as Escape in J M Coetzee's Age of Iron: A Jakobsonian Approach
50
Trauma and Identity in Tom McCarthy's Remainder: A Cognitive Approach
50
Traumatic Realism in Films About the Nepali Diaspora
50
"I Belong to Everybody and I Belong to Nobody": Clusivity in Political Discourse
50
     
Articles

Ritualistic Carnival: Storytelling, Remembrance, and Celebration of History in Paule Marshall's The Chosen Place, the Timeless People
Ashma Shamail

Carnival as a cultural expression has evolved as one of the pivotal societal events on the Caribbean islands, marking it uniquely as an Afro-Caribbean tradition. Novelist Paule Marshall's narrative The Chosen Place, the Timeless People (1969) focuses on a fictitious island community that stresses the importance of conserving and transmitting historical and cultural roots through storytelling, remembrance, and the ritual Carnival. Cultural performances grounded in historical rootedness have in diverse ways redressed and healed multiple injuries of individuals by rescuing them from spiritual and psychological death. This paper examines the communal cultural parade as remembrance and celebration of the enslaved population's struggle for freedom. Marshall explores through her novel the island community's passionate performance of their slave hero's story of rebellion during the Carnival. The cultural festival addresses their emancipation, strength, memory, and resistance against domination. The storytelling legacy in this novel acts as a balm to their psyches, giving the inhabitants the power to challenge their present state, and help preserve their identity despite their subjugation. Community-building forces in this novel foster and rekindle connections, thereby celebrating and championing the legacy of roots.


© 2020 IUP. All Rights Reserved.

Article Price : ? 50

"What D'You Want a Flaming Book for?": Matilda Revisited
Susan Lobo

The protagonist of Roald Dahl's Matilda embarks on an ambitious reading project, avidly devouring a substantial quantum of literary classics from the local library. This paper revisits Dahl's much-loved book to examine the protagonist from the lens of her reading list with the contention that tracing her remarkable development corroborates what reading research has noted about the benefits of reading fiction. It seeks to demonstrate how Matilda's reading of serious literature empowers her with a far more advanced consciousness than she would have otherwise had, although her disposition to empathy remains open to debate. Finally, it proposes that her "return" to the world of the fairytale at the end of the book signifies not a regression, but a crucial step in her growth. The paper concludes with the assertion that with or without her magical powers, Matilda makes a compelling case for the transformative power of literature.


© 2020 IUP. All Rights Reserved.

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The Resolution of Dichotomies in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged
Sugeetha K and M G Priya

Renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow's romantic vision of a self-actualized human being and novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand's visualization of an ideal human being are similar in many aspects. While the psychologist conceived an encouraging picture of the fundamental nature of human beings (what they could be), the writer, through her novels, envisioned what people who have reached that stage are capable of achieving (how they ought to be). Both treat happiness as a state of mind that is achievable by all, rather than an emotional state that is dependent on external factors. While Rand in her fiction and Maslow in his theories have listed a number of common traits as prerequisites for an individual to lead a constructive and happy life, the ability to resolve or integrate dichotomies, according to them, plays a vital role in deciding a person's psychological health. Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged contains many such dichotomies that human beings battle with in the course of their lives. This paper explores how the characters in Atlas Shrugged successfully deal with some of these dichotomies and as a consequence lead joyful lives. Since the mental health of a person is crucial to one's wellbeing and happiness, the objective of this paper is to discover solutions to internal conflicts that can disrupt the tranquility of the human mind.


© 2020 IUP. All Rights Reserved.

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The God of Small Things Versus the Devil of Big Things: Narrative Technique and Arundhati Roy
Maninder Kapoor

As an astute muckraker, Arundhati Roy uses the narrative technique of "inversion" to express her concern for all categories of the marginalized, be they women, children, factory workers, or paravans. In true muckraking tradition, her novel touches upon a plethora of social evils-political and social hypocrisies, patriarchal property rights, ill-treatment of divorced women, caste issues, wife-battering, and so on. A strong sense of grievance lends an angry color to her work. Roy's The God of Small Things as a specimen of women's writing displays an obsessive urge to articulate anger through the technique of "inversion," in turn made possible through the novel's constantly changing perspective and its nonlinear progression. "Inversion" accounts for the undertone of irony that runs through the novel. It colors the title, the ordering of each individual chapter, as well as the controversial end. "Inversion" ensures the effectiveness of the title in foregrounding the "small things" as the central preoccupation of the novel. It also works cleverly to expose the contrast between the apparent and the real and thus upset reader expectations. It also determines the ordering of the events that constitute the novel's diegesis. The technique of inversion allows the event of the punishment to precede the so-called crime. The crime is relegated to the end, and ironically makes possible the inversion of a happy ending to a sad story.


© 2020 IUP. All Rights Reserved.

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Sighs of Becoming: A Study of Boonyi's Third-Phase in Salman Rushdie's Shalimar the Clown
V Vidya

The debate on the relationship of a woman with her body and her men has been a keen subject of interest for both men and women for ages, and it has undergone tremendous vicissitudes for various reasons. A woman can experience her body as "facticity" rather than "contingency" (Tidd 2004, 56). She can really choose how to "exist" with her body. She need not allow her embodiment to be predefined by the patriarchal society. She can very well allow her body to be "other than herself." All these possible choices still stand at the threshold of accomplishments for every woman, waiting for the debate of "to be" or "not to be" or "to have become" a woman to be resolved unanimously. The obtainability of these choices and the debate of to be or not to be form the base for Boonyi's "becoming" in Salman Rushdie's Shalimar the Clown. In fact, "to be" a woman is expediently interpreted as "to have become" a woman. This construed interpretation is taken in this paper to analyze Boonyi's "third-phase." The paper further endeavors to scrutinize the coincidence of Simone de Beauvoir's key term "becoming" and the term "made woman" of Minh-Ha with Boonyi's "third-phase"-her return from Max's captivity to her village and her exile thereafter.


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Writing as Escape in J M Coetzee's Age of Iron: A Jakobsonian Approach
Eman K Mukattash

The study analyzes the letter form J M Coetzee's novel Age of Iron (1990) takes as an extended act of communication in the light of Roman Jakobson's Communicative Model. Mrs. Elizabeth Curren, the white elderly protagonist of the novel who is dying of cancer, writes a lengthy letter to her daughter and chooses a vagrant trespassing her property to post it to her after her death. Given Coetzee's (1992) description of the act of writing as a performative act, Mrs. Curren can be seen as performing an extended act of communication in which an addresser sends a message to an addressee in a given context via a mutually understandable code and with reciprocated signs of contact. Overwhelmed by the recurrent, but failed, attempts to understand the truth and convey it in a letter to her, she chooses to redefine the act of writing/communication as an escape from the truth, rather than as a channel of it. This she does intentionally, producing a failed/dysfunctional act of communication, which, when approached in the sociolinguistic context of Jakobson's Model of Interactive Communication (1960), is better understood. Though Mrs. Curren tries in different ways to come to terms with the truth, and though her attempts at doing so earn her the credit of a hard worker, she eventually sees escape through writing as the route to salvation. Her letter to her daughter, therefore, is her way of telling us that she refuses to live with this burden, the burden of the truth, and chooses to rid herself of its heaviness through liquidating the truth it bears in the letter she writes.


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Trauma and Identity in Tom McCarthy's Remainder: A Cognitive Approach
Mahdi Qasemi Shandiz, Zohreh Taebi, and Roghayeh Farsi

This paper approaches the question of identity in a posttraumatic condition through the lens of schema theory, with reference to Tom McCarthy's novel Remainder (2005). It examines how schema construction provides enough clues for understanding the protagonist's attempt to form his lost identity. The close analysis of the novel is done through Stockwell's (2002) definition of schema theory. Schema theory offers psychological and scientific proofs for the protagonist's behavior, revealing how his mental obsession and motivations for reenactments are directed by cultural forces. This obsessive behavior constantly changes from one state to another. The theory will make these constant changes in behavior trackable by examining the character's changing principles of his schemata, which, according to Stockwell (2002), first develops, then changes, and finally gets refreshed in a posttraumatic situation. Finally, the paper interprets the protagonist's crisis of identity as the modern man's passage from modernism toward postmodernism and the traumatic reaction to this transition. The paper also pinpoints the pros and cons of the schema approach.


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Traumatic Realism in Films About the Nepali Diaspora
Sireesha Telugu

The paper analyzes the depiction of Nepali Gulf migrants across several documentaries. Using Michael Rothberg's "traumatic realism" as a framework, the paper identifies three forms of Nepali trauma: Physical trauma that documents the migrant laborers' living conditions and its effect on their corporeal reality; Psychological and Emotional trauma proceeding from the above, and also their sense of failure and distance from their families back home; and Financial trauma of the poor economic status of the Nepalese. The paper serves as an introduction to a diaspora that is rarely studied in diaspora studies.


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"I Belong to Everybody and I Belong to Nobody": Clusivity in Political Discourse
Isaiah I Agbo and Kingsley O Ugwuanyi

Questions of association and dissociation are recurrent motifs in practically all forms of discourse, especially in political discourse. Political actors rely on a range of strategies to align themselves with and demonstrate in-group solidarity while "othering" the out-group. The study employs the pragma-cognitive model of association and dissociation proposed in Wieczorek's (2013) clusivity theory to analyze the inauguration speech of President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria. Using this model, the study deconstructs the unique character of the speech, unpacking the sociopolitical forces that underlie the text. Specifically, the study analyzes the speech in line with the pragma-cognitive features of politeness, common ground, referentiality, and conceptual metaphor. The analysis uncovered that the speaker's claim of belonging to everybody and nobody is questionable in view of the evidence of association and dissociation in the text.


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Article Price : ? 50

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