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86 Seiten, Note: A
1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Disillusionment and Alienation in Literature
1.2.3 Post 9/11 literature
1.3 Writer’s Background
1.4 Research Statement
1.6 Significance of the Study
1.7 Structure of the study
1.8 Limitations and Delimitations of the study
2 Literature Review
2.1 Disillusionment and Alienation in Twentieth Century Literature
2.1.1 Disillusionment and alienation in Western literature after World Wars I & II
2.1.2 Disillusionment and alienation in Asian and African literature
2.1.3 International Appreciation of Hamid’s Works
3 Research Methology
3.1 Type of Research
3.2 Theoretical Framework
3.3 Method of Research
4 Content Analysis
4.1 Analysis of Moth Smoke
4.1.1 Overview of the novel
4.1.2 Analysis of the Novel Moth Smoke (2000):*
184.108.40.206 Disillusionment and Alienation in Characters of Moth Smoke (2000)
220.127.116.11 Thematic Focus of Moth Smoke (2000)
18.104.22.168.1 Allegory of Moth
22.214.171.124 The Social Scenario Causing Alienation and Disillusionment
126.96.36.199 Cultural Conflicts Leading to Disillusionment and Alienation
188.8.131.52 The Economic and Political Scenario Causing Alienation and Disillusionment
184.108.40.206 Use of Pseudonym in Moth Smoke
220.127.116.11 Existentialism and Pessimism in Hamid’s Writings
4.2 Analysis of “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia”
4.2.1 Overview of the Novel
4.2.2 Analysis of How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013):*
18.104.22.168 Disillusionment and Alienation in Characters of How to Get Filthy
Rich in Rising Asia
22.214.171.124.1 Female Characters
126.96.36.199 Thematic Focus of How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
188.8.131.52 The Social Scenario Causing Alienation and Disillusionment in How to
Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
184.108.40.206 Cultural Conflict leading to Disillusionment and Alienation in How to
Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013)
220.127.116.11 The Economic and Political Scenario Causing Alienation and
Disillusionment in How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
18.104.22.168 Stereotyping in How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
22.214.171.124 Existentialism and Pessimism in Hamid’s Writings
The present research aims at exploring the themes of disillusionment and alienation with regard to the construction of identity in two postcolonial novels by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid’s Moth Smoke (MS, 2000) and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (Hamid, 2013) taking theoretical insights from the works of Karl Marx (1883), Homi K. Bhabha (1994) and others. A common thread running through these novels is the juxtaposing of estrangement and alienation while fighting for the basic right of getting prospects to thrive in life. How the cultural and identity conflicts in developing Asia emerged as the reason for personal estrangement of characters from reality; how the protagonists were found to be fragmented and how they used underhand ways to get rich is explored in Hamid’s selected works.
David Punter in ‘ Postcolonial Imaginings’ (2000) , cites that literature is defined as an instance of concrete political practice which reflects the dynamic process of the national democratic revolution in developing countries (San Juan, 1998:254).
Literature is not merely an expression of authors’ minds but also an image of the period in which it is written. Dealing with postcolonial literature, this literary study is designed to cover the genre of Pakistani English novel which is an invented prose narrative of considerable length and certain complexity. It deals imaginatively with human experiences particularly in Pakistani context, specifically dealing with cultural and identity conflicts and the resultant disillusionment and alienation.
Hamid’s literary work is internationally acclaimed and awarded, as it not only presents the Pakistani society on the whole but also gives a bird’s eye view of the Asian cultural and economic practices.
The present research endeavours to encompass an effort to examine Hamid's views about the plight and disillusionment of the Post-Colonial Asian societies as they are reflected in his fiction. This is premised on the awareness that there is a close relationship between Pakistani literature and its historical context. Essentially, his novels of pre and post 9/11 time period, Moth Smoke (2000), and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013) are explored with a view to highlight how he contributes to the discourse of the motifs of Post-Colonial times, the themes of cultural and identity crises and their resultant disillusionment and alienation in Sub-Continent.
Analysis of Hamid (1971)’s selected works brings forth the depiction of themes of identity and cultural conflicts and the resultant alienation and disillusionment. Hamid’s wisdom, intellect, knowledge of the world and description of cultural settings are the powers which make disjointed and rambling plots of stories interesting and meaningful. He shows alienation and disillusionment within the surroundings due to social chaos and dishevel as rooted in the society through his characters Dara, Ozi and Mumtaz in Moth Smoke and the characters You, his father, The Pretty Girl and the Wife of You in the novel How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. These characters face mental turmoil because of their own unstable relationships as well as the disturbed social and political situation. The multiple paths that are followed include a thorough examination of the sense of disenchantment in characters and the ideological context within which the work is produced. This study reflects the problems of the author’s immediate society in particular, and the Asian continent in general before and after the 9/11 scenario.
Dealing with socio-political as well as historical background of the novel Moth Smoke, certain important and heart-throbbing incidents are also analyzed briefly to have the comprehensive knowledge of the background. Tariq Rehman (1949) in his book ‘ A History of Pakistani Literature in English’ (1991), analyses the political history of Pakistan in 1970s. According to Tariq Rehman, the nineteen seventies began with the martial law regime of General Muhammad Yahya Khan who was in power from 1968. Then Ayub Khan started the ‘Decade of Reforms’ in December, 1970. Rehman (1949) also mentioned in his book (1991) that elections of 1970-71 were held in East and West Pakistan in which Sheikh Mujeeb-Ur-Rehman’s Awami League got maximum votes in Eastern wing. This unexpected election results gave rise to different conflicts which resulted into dishevel of political situation. Later on, Sheikh Mujeeb declared East Pakistan as an independent state with the name ‘Bangladesh’. This perplexed and chaotic political situation disillusioned the nation. At that time Pakistani English literature was not established properly. Zulfikar Ghose (1935), Daud Kamal (1987), Ali Ahmad (1994) and many others were taking the initiative to express their emotions regarding the disillusioned political and social upheaval of the time period in English literature of Pakistan. Zulfikar Ghose’s poetry book ‘ The Violent West ’ (1972) is a notable contribution in Pakistani English literature. He also wrote books like, The Loss of India ( 1964 ), A Memory of Asia (1984) and many others. Daud Kamal’s first collection of poems, 'Compass of love and other poems ' appeared in 1973 which also brought English literature in Pakistan to the front (M. Azam, English Literature, 2000). Tariq Rehman in his book discusses the political situation of Pakistan by mentioning Zulfiqar Bhutto’s reign till 1977 and then accusation upon him of rigging the elections (Rehman, 1991, chap: 7, pp.110-123). Zia’s immediate successor was Ghulam Ishaq khan who distinguished himself as the Civil Administrator of Pakistan (1997:505). Then in 1989, Benazir came to rule and after her in 1991, Nawaz Sharif’s government threw the nation in deep chaos. This back to back ousting and shifting of power of Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto continued till 1999. Nawaz Sharif’s government has the credit of supporting Pakistani scientists for nuclear experiments and test explosions. But later on, in 1999, Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf ousted Nawaz Sharif’s government and became the Marshal Law administrator. This martial Law also proved a disaster for the development of literature in uncertain political conditions of Pakistan. But, later, Musharraf supported literary societies and also allowed different satellite media channels in Pakistan which proved a boon for Pakistani media and literature.
After the incidence of 9/11 i.e. World Trade Centre’s collapse in 2001, Muslims were considered as terrorists. This consideration forced America to attack Afghanistan and then Iraq. In Asia, the economic downfall due to the restrictions for trade on many Asian countries specifically on Pakistan brought a decline in the market and caused the economy to crash. Pakistan was granted many loans from different Western monetary federations for the betterment of economy.
Political situation in the last decade was not stable. Benazir Bhutto who was the first Muslim Pakistani Woman Prime Minister was shot to death right before the national elections in 2007. Then Pervez Musharraf who was the dictator and Chief Marshal Law administrator quit his presidency and handed over the control to democratically elected Peoples Party. The democratic government completed its tenure in 2013 and the next democratic government took the control. In the whole decade, rising inflation, power crisis, water shortage, dams’ issue and international affairs like Kashmir issue and Indo-Pak conflicts were not resolved and grew more severe because of the time lapse.
Hamid (1971)’s novel How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013) deals imaginatively with the journey of struggle from rags to riches in Asian continent. In Asia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Malaysia are the developed Muslim countries while China, Korea and Japan have become powerful enough to impact the World economy through technology and scientific revolutions. But the poverty of the slum areas in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and many other such countries remains as it was before. There is no change in the economic condition of the natives of these countries because of the wrong policies of the governments. The burden of advancement of these countries is on the shoulders of poor people. Afghanistan also faced the destruction and war after 9/11 and is in the process of progress.
Pankaj Mishra, a well-known Indian journalist, in his Bloomberg view’s blog says about the present socio-political scenario of Asian countries that Asia’s urban migration is bringing about an “explosive transformation.” The Pakistani novelist Hamid (1971) (1971) writes in How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013), the supportive, stifling, stabilizing bonds of extended relationships weakening and giving way, leaving in their wake insecurity, anxiety, productivity and potential (Mishra, Bloomberg’s Review, 2014). The writer of this article portrays the political and economic conditions of Asian countries as the background of Hamid (1971)’s novels. According to him, across Asia, the authority of older political, economic and military elites is being challenged and often overthrown. The urban working classes as well as members of the professional middle classes have managed to disrupt the balance of the power among established politicians and power brokers and businessmen. According to Mishra, most accounts of this Asia-wide phenomenon, which hail the triumph of “participatory democracy” or the advent of the “common man” in a post-ideological age, avoid mentioning another “potential” of this explosive transformational ‘conflict’, which is a broad economic slowdown. The revolt of the masses, for instance, has triggered a counter-revolt of the elite class. Middle-class anger over leaders’ remote-control politics has paralyzed the nations and damaged the economy. (Mishra, Bloomberg View, 2014) Mishra further says that in India, political loyalties are fragmented further by caste solidarities, and other forms of identity and patronage politics. These can be superseded in a place like Delhi by local issues of corruption and governance. Ultimately, the South Asian population is moving towards a change not only in political environment but also in social as well as in literary environment because of the increase in communication with the outer world and more development due to scientific inventions and educational reforms in South Asian countries which have also supported the literary fields.
In literature, themes of disillusionment and alienation often come together. Loss of identity, mixed-up culture, death and destruction are the themes which are taken as the cause of disillusionment and alienation of people.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, alienation, in social sciences, is the state of feeling estranged or separated from one’s milieu, work or its products, or self. Despite its popularity in the analysis of contemporary life, the idea of alienation remains an ambiguous concept with elusive meanings. Powerlessness, estrangement, meaninglessness, despair and pessimism are the key factors for alienation. Cultural and social estrangement is the sense of removal from established values in society (as, for example, in intellectual or student rebellions against conventional institutions) and self-estrangement. Perhaps the most difficult to define and in a sense the master theme of alienation is the understanding that in one way or another, the individual is out of touch with himself. Same is the case with loss of identity. Quest for identity and conflicts arising due to this quest, are the basis for alienation. According to Post-Colonial theories, cultural rootlessness is another dilemma of contemporary post-colonial world specifically South Asian countries where due to religious and external interruption as well as immigration to Western countries, no pure culture is available now. This lack of pure cultural heritage induces the feeling of identity crisis hence leading to estrangement.
There are certain solid reasons behind the feelings of estrangement and alienation. It may occur in response to certain events or situations in society or in one's personal life. For example, the loss of a charismatic group leader, or the discovery that a person who served as a role model has serious shortcomings; death in the family, a job change, divorce, or leaving home for the first time. Although most people may find that such occurrences trigger temporary feelings of loneliness, a small percentage will be unable to overcome these events, and feel hopelessly adrift and alone.
Some sociologists observe that individuals become alienated when they perceive government, employment, or educational institutions as cold and impersonal, unresponsive to those who need their services. Entire groups may experience alienation (Cox, 1998, July). Such are the themes dealt by Hamid (1971) in his novels as social irony and dilemma of modern Asia. For example, ethnic minorities or residents of inner city neighborhoods who feel the opportunities and advantages of mainstream society are beyond their reach. Feeling separated from society is not the only way for experiencing alienation. Sometimes the individual feels alienated which is disharmony with his or her true self. This condition develops when a person accepts societal expectations (to take over a family business, for example) that are counter to the person's true goals, feelings, or desire. He may appear to be successful in the role others expect him to assume, but his true wish is hidden, leaving him feeling deeply conflicted and alone.
Hamid (1971) himself said about alienation in an interview, “If your sense of self is destabilized, to imagine being another becomes pretty easy.” (Homa Khaleeli, The Hindu, 2013, 3rd para, 7th line) In The Post-colonial Studies Reader, the editors Griffiths, Helen and Tiffin cite that because ‘the person who speaks and acts is always a multiplicity,’ no ‘theorizing intellectual or party or union’ can represent ‘those who act and struggle’. (Foucault & Deleuze, 1997:206) So, if someone feels alienated, he loses his share of facilities and his voice.
Disillusionment is the theme along with alienation to be dealt in this research paper. When reality is revealed it brings in disillusionment. Online dictionaries like ‘Your Dictionary’ and Oxford Dictionary define disillusionment as disappointment and pessimism that is felt when it is realized that something that was thought to be true was not, or when it is realized that something you thought was good is not as good as you believed it was, it causes a feeling of disenchantment and disparagement. A well-known American writer Sarah Dessen (1970) in ‘ Someone Like You’ gives her views about disillusionment that
“There are some things in this world you rely on, like a sure bet. And when they let you down, shifting from where you've carefully placed them, it shakes your faith, right where you stand.”
Such disillusionment purely brings alienation of the self. A well-known American actress and singer Judy Garland also thinks that, “How strange when an illusion dies. It's as though you've lost a child.” (Goodreads.com)
An Indian literary theorist, philosopher and University Professor at Columbia University Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (1942) in her article Can the Subaltern Speak (1988) considers the often-quoted programmatic lines from Macaulay’s infamous “Minute on Indian Education’ (1835) about the colonized disillusioned nation :
We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population. (Macauly, 1835: 359)
The historical background of the Sub-Continent also induces deep disillusionment because of the knowledge that our ancestors ruled over the Sub-Continent for thousand years and we out of our cowardice and weakness lost the Empire. Now we have merely a small piece of land. Recalling our past grand history, Hamid (1971) used the historical reference of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s sons Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb Alamgeer in Moth Smoke to give us a poignant notion of colonization and disenchantment. While looking back at Mughal history, we come to know that Dara Shikoh, the name used by Hamid (1971) for his protagonist also, was the eldest son of Shah Jahan and was a major proponent of the mystical blending of Upanishad philosophy and Sufism as was mentioned in the book Modern South Asia- History, culture, political economy written by Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal. (Bose & Jalal, 1998, 4:35-47, para-2) Bose and Jalal cite that Dara Shikoh lost out in a bitter succession struggle to his younger brother Aurangzeb in 1658. Hamid (1971) also portrayed the defeat and loss of Dara in his novel Moth Smoke by the hands of Aurangzeb (Ozi).
American literature is famous for using the themes of identity crisis or loss of self-esteem, hopelessness, meaninglessness and social estrangement. When the American literature written after World War-II is discussed, Ernst Hemingway (1961), a renowned name in war literature comes at the top of the list. He wrote many novels like ‘ A Farewell to Arms’ (1929) and ‘ The Sun Also Rises’ (1926) and many others. The short stories on his credit are ‘ A Cat in the rain’ and ‘ A Clean Well-lighted Place’ and many others, which express the themes of lost generation, alienation, identity crisis, hopelessness, absurdity, nothingness leading to disillusionment. The popularity of Hemingway's works to a great extent is based on themes, which according to scholar Frederic Svoboda are love, war, wilderness and loss, all of which are strongly evident in the body of the work. These are recurring themes of American literature, which are clearly evident in Hemingway's work.
Talking about South Asian literature and specifically Pakistani and Indian literary works done by renowned writers and poets in the last forty decades, Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1984), Habib Jalib (1993), Qurat-ul-Ain Haider (2007), Ahmed Faraz (2008) are the legendary writers and poets who wrote Urdu prose, fiction and poetry focusing on the themes of identity loss, resistance, corruption, cultural hybridity, disillusionment, alienation and most importantly independence, self-pride and ego.
In South Asia, English language and literature was specifically brought up by Zulfikar Ghose (1935), Daud Kamal (1987), Taufiq Rafat (1998), Ahmed Ali (1994), Tariq Rahman (1949), Bapsi Sidhwa (1938) Amitav Ghosh (1956), Shashi Deshpande (1938), Bharati Mukherjee (1940), V. S. Naipaul (1932) and many others. The major focus of these writers’ literary works was to point out the social issues as well as personal conflicts highlighted for the meditation of the readers.
A notable Pakistani revolutionary poet, left-wing activist and politician Habib Jalib (1928) also wrote prolific and revolutionary poetry. His work was notable and exquisite in the sense that it aroused feelings of disillusionment that led to revolution and resistance without any concealment; for which he faced punishment and imprisonment but did not leave his job of left-wing activism. His notable works included a poem “Dastoor”. He also wrote many books and poems on political issues.
Another notable name is Maki kureshi (1995) who is a well-known poet and writer. Her poems like Curfew Summer and Snipers in Karachi (Shamsie (Ed.), 1998, pp.70 & 73) deal with the present chaos, disillusionment and alienation in country and specifically in Karachi after Bangladesh treason and then later on Musharraf’s military coup. The social injustice, identity crisis and corruption insinuated in Pakistani society after getting disillusioned and alienated from the land, and the self are the major themes dealt in this poem.
Contemporary writers of South Asia, who are writing in English about their land as an émigré, include Mohsin Hamid (1971), Kamila Shamsie (1973), Kiran Desai (1971), Arundhati Roy (1961), Salman Rushdie (1947), Sara Suleri (1953), Khaled Hosseini (1965), and many others.
Indian writer Kiran Desai’s brilliant novels, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard (1998) and The Inheritance of Loss (2006), published to huge acclaim. The Inheritance of Loss is a story of joy and despair. Another Pakistani novelist Sara Suleri (1953) in her novel ‘Meatless Days’ (2003) also expressed the themes of exile, cultural as well as identity conflicts and immigration issues (taken from Shamsie (Ed.), 1998:433-34).
In the same time period of the history, Pakistani writer Kamela Shamsie (1973) also wrote notable novels like In the City by the Sea (1998), Salt and Saffron (2000), Kartography (2002), Broken Verses (2005), Offence: the Muslim case (2009). Burnt Shadows (2009), and A God in Every Stone (2014). Indian pessimistic writer Anita Desai’s ‘ In custody’ ( 1983) is another notable addition in South Asian English literature which is woven around the yearnings and calamities of a small town scholar in the north of India. All these fictional works depict the themes of chaos, cultural and identity conflicts, disillusionment, death, pessimism and alienation which are explored in Hamid (1971)’s novels in this study.
The World Trade Centre’s collapse in 9/11, led many writers to analyse the event. Literature produced in the world after the incident of 9/11, was not initially in the form of novels but in the form of comic books and graphic novels presenting the first and foremost effects of attacks. Among them was the most famous collection ‘ Sometime Lofty Towers’, a photographic memoir of the World Trade Centre.* Many writers wrote about post 9/11 trauma. The important themes emerging from their works were, identity crisis, alienation, disillusionment, resistance, cultural differences, hybridity, poverty, restlessness, deception, man’s inhumanity to man, economic crisis, marginalization of minorities and the danger of nostalgia.
Hamid (1971), a Pakistani English novelist, wrote three ground-breaking novels i.e. Moth Smoke (2000), The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013). He was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1971. He spent part of his childhood in California while his father, a university Professor was enrolled and attended graduation school for PhD program at Stanford University. Returning to the U.S. to complete his own education, Hamid (1971) graduated from Princeton University in 1993 and Harvard Law School in 1997. He worked for a while as a management consultant in New York and then moved to London, where he continued to work and write. At the Princeton University, he was under the influence of Toni Morrison (a female American novelist, editor and Professor) and Joyce Carol Oates (female American author). During his study, he wrote his first rough draft for fiction workshop that was taught by Morrison.
There is no question that Hamid (1971)'s cross-cultural influences and perspectives as well as unusual life experiences have informed his fiction. In addition to consulting and writing novels, he remains a much-in-demand freelance journalist, contributing articles, essays and short stories often with a Pakistani slant, to publications like Time Magazine, The Guardian, New York Times, Independent, and Washington Post (http://www.mohsinhamid.com, 2013). He holds dual citizenship in England and Pakistan (www.Litlovers.com/MohsinHamid, 2013) and currently lives and works in London. He mostly writes about resistance, experiences of immigration, foreign citizenship or immigrant identity and alienation in foreign land.
His first two novels i.e. Moth Smoke (2000) and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2013) established Hamid (1971) as a radically inventive storyteller with his finger on the world's pulse. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia meets that reputation and exceeds it. The whole story is built with an indefinite plot not only to criticize the social system of Asia but also to pave the path for the disillusioned and alienated youth to rise from rags to riches.
Moth Smoke is set in the background of nuclear experiments done by India as well as Pakistan and then its aftermaths seen in Lahore, Pakistan. The political as well as personal dishevel and disillusionment, seen as a result of Indo-Pak conflicts as well as cultural and identity crises are the driving forces for this novel. The 1971’s East and West Pakistan’s separation is the stimulant of the breach between Pakistan and India so, it is discussed as a background of the study to understand the poignancy of the political and social set up depicted in the novel.
This research will focus on the cultural and identity conflicts in Hamid (1971)’s work. It will investigate how the Post-Colonial perspective reflects this conflict which brings disillusionment and a sense of alienation in his characters in Moth Smoke and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.
The objectives focused upon in the analysis of the novels Moth Smoke and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia are:
- To find cultural and identity conflicts in the Post-Colonial paradigm in Hamid (1971)’s novels.
- To explore the above mentioned themes as causes of disillusionment and alienation of characters in the light of theories advanced by Post-Colonial theorists like Durkheim, Edward Said and Homi K. Bhabha. Theory of Karl Marx is also applied to gauge the economic causes of disillusionment and alienation.
Main focus of this research is to discover the cultural and identity conflicts and the resultant disillusionment and alienation of the characters in Hamid (1971)’s Moth Smoke (2000) and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013) . This study significantly highlights the cultural depiction of East and West, its evolution in thirteen years of pre and post 9/11 incident as well as the resultant identity crises leading to disillusionment and alienation of characters. Previously little research and reflection has been done on Moth Smoke (2000) and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013) which did not look at the Post-Colonial paradigm, therefore, the present research opens new horizons for debates and discussions about Hamid (1971)’s world-view.
The research is divided into five chapters. First Chapter ‘Introduction’ gives the background of the study including the exposition, socio-political background of the writer and the basic concepts related to the topic of research. Second chapter i.e. ‘Literature Review’, encompasses some of the critical definitions and work in the same area done previously by scholars. It presents a review of researches related to disillusionment and alienation in Post-Colonial literature. The third chapter ‘Methodology’ elaborates the techniques and approaches of carrying out research in a qualitative way. Fourth chapter ‘Analysis’ encompasses the main focal point of the research work i.e. the analysis of Hamid (1971)’s novels on the basis of the cultural and identity conflicts and ways of encountering them according to Post-Colonial theories. It specifically focuses on the disillusionment and alienation brought to the characters by these conflicts. Finally, the chapter of ‘ Conclusion’ discusses and highlights the findings on the basis of the analysis.
Limited time and space i.e. word limit was given to complete the research. Therefore, this research has been limited to the two post-colonial novels with pre and post 9/11 context to locate the aspects of disillusionment and alienation and causes that lead to this condition. Lack of availability of proper reference guides and required secondary material on the topic of research was also a limitation. To overcome this obstacle online journals and articles available on internet have been consulted.
This literature review is designed to cover important definitions and theories of alienation and disillusionment as well as cultural and identity conflicts in post-colonial perspective to thoroughly analyze Hamid (1971)’s novels. For this purpose, an operational definition is made on the basis of critical articles and books about alienation and disillusionment.
Literature does not have boundaries. Good literature lives in the hearts of those who read it anywhere in the world. It has universal themes which are applicable to all humanity living on any patch of the world. Here, some of the important works of twentieth and twenty first century are discussed which are based on themes of disillusionment and alienation.
Twentieth century is full of chaotic and bewildering incidents which brought estrangement and disillusionment to the people. The most significant events of twentieth century are World War I and II. These poignant incidents of the war snatched peace from the world and brought absurdity in the lives of modern day people. If we consider the literature of that time, it not only portrayed the chaotic social disorder but also expressed the political dishevel and deprivation in the works of the great writers of the era. Literature produced in that era stated the themes of deep chaos, identity crisis, disillusionment, generation gap, lost cultural heritage and alienation as an aftermath of war destruction. Recognition of the concept of alienation in Western thought was similarly elusive which existed implicitly or explicitly in classical sociological works of 19th and early 20th centuries and theories written by Karl Marx (1883), Émile Durkheim (1917), Ferdinand Tönnies (1936) and so on. To study themes of identity and cultural conflicts and the resultant disillusionment and alienation in Hamid (1971)’s selected novels; Marx’s concepts of alienation are taken as a scale.
Karl Heinrich Marx (1883), a Russian theorist, philosopher and revolutionist, speaks of alienated labour under capitalism in which work is compelled rather than spontaneous and creative. For Marx (1883), alienation, is not purely a subjective phenomenon; it is an objective, social condition which can be overcome only through historical changes. In nineteenth century, workers had a little control over the work process and their work product was expropriated by others to be used against them. The worker himself became a commodity in the labour market and became alienated. According to Marx, alienation consists of the fact that workers do not gain fulfillment from work. Marx, however, represents only one stream of thought concerning alienation in modern society. In ordinary speech and even in the social sciences it is usually taken to describe vague feelings of malaise or meaninglessness, particularly with respect to work. According to Leopold (2007:68), for Marx alienation is `a kind of dysfunctional relation between entities', for example, an unnatural separation or hostility (Sayers, S, Hardimon 1994, pp. 119-22). Ernst Fischer (1972) points out that because of this unnatural separation or hostility we do not see each other ‘as fellow-men having equal rights, but as superiors or subordinates, as holders of a rank, as a small or large unit of power’. Fischer (1972) is of the view that we are related to each other not as individuals but as the representatives of different relations of production, the personification of capital, or land or labour. A professor of politics Bertell Ollman (1935) writes, “In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality” (Judy Cox, 1998). Hamid (1971)’s works also depict the hierarchy of status, dependency on income to maintain the status. Failure in maintaining this status and getting independence from capital income results in disillusionment and alienation of characters.
A French sociologist and philosopher Durkheim (1917) also raised his voice and presented his concept of ‘ The Division of Labour in Society ’ (1893). Durkheim thought that transition of a society from "primitive" to advanced may bring about major disorder, crisis, and anomie (social alienation or fragmentation of social identity), hence giving rise to disillusionment and alienation. Unlike Karl Marx (1883), who talked about economic alienation and class conflict, Durkheim regarded conflict, chaos, and disorder as pathological phenomena to modern society (Durkheim, E. (1997) . pp. 39-108. & Rock, P. 2002)
A professor of social sciences Arif Dirlik (1940) demonstrated this disorder and disillusionment as an outcome of Capitalism that enabled Europeans to dominate our planet. Ironically, Dirlik (1940) pointed out the appearance of "Third World" i.e., under-developed countries which suffered from the torment of colonization. Given post-colonialism's political irrelevance, Dirlik argued for a resuscitation of the term ‘Third World’, not because of its descriptive utility but because it kept alive the possibility of resistance to structures of domination. He put forward the concept of identity of those who belong to hybrid cultures.
Before describing hybridity, the term ‘culture’ must be explained which can be described more pragmatically by dividing it into two types i.e. Objective and subjective culture. Objective culture is the totality of the material and spiritual context in which we live. On the other hand, subjective culture is the other side of understanding how culture works. It requires the extent to which objectified culture is internalized by actors. Subjective culture is what individuals internalize Objective culture and which becomes insinuated in their personalities as their identity (Culture and Learning, 4.2, para 16 & 19 [web page])
The outbreak of First (1914) and Second World War (1939) not only damaged the social set up but also brought an era of great intellectual and creative exuberance in English literature, to an end. No important new novelists or playwrights appeared in British literary circle except those who were already writing. T. S. Eliot (1965), a great English poet, essayist, playwright and publisher, wrote the poems ‘ The Waste Land’ (1922) and ‘ The Hollow Men’ (1925) for moral and religious significance in the midst of destruction and strove to counter the spirit of nationalism which inevitably present in a nation at war. These poems significantly portrayed the destitute and hopeless situation of the world and the damaged psyche of humanity along with the motif of fragmentation in twentieth century. Eliot’s motif of writing was for the well-being of the society in which he was living. The disillusionment and alienation depicted in these poems was still applicable to the disillusioned modern world of absurdity and bewilderment.
After World War-II, increased attachment to religion also influenced literature. This was particularly perceptible in authors who had already established themselves before the war. W. H. Auden (an Anglo-American poet)’s and Christopher Fry (2005)’s works are one such example.
American literature on the other hand, attained a new maturity and a rich diversity in the 1920s and ’30s. Significant works by several major literary figures from those decades were published after 1945. Before and after World War II, an American poet, novelist, and literary critic Robert Penn Warren (1989) published influential fiction, poetry, and criticism. His ‘ All the King’s Men’ (1946) is one of the best American political novels and won the 1947 Pulitzer Prize . One motif of the play All the King’s Men’ (1946) is the ‘Great Twitch’ which is a particular brand of nihilism. The play ‘ All the King’s Men ’ also touches on oedipal themes, as Jack discovers his father's true identity after causing his father’s death. This discovery catalyzes a disorder in the character's moral outlook and disillusions him.
Though the social climate of the postwar years was conservative, even conformist, some of the most fervently discussed writers were Tennessee Williams (1983), Truman Capote (1984), Gore Vidal (2012), and James Baldwin (1987). James Baldwin himself was disillusioned because of the racial discrimination in America. These writers used dark themes and experimental methods in their literary works. William Golding (1993), an English novelist, playwright and poet, was another popular name in the modern English literature, who wrote about themes of disillusionment, alienation and corruption. The idea that civilization contained the seeds of corruption was perhaps best expressed in William Golding's Lord of the Flies (1954). In this novel, Golding did not examine a particular moment of the recent past, but childhood, as the site where adult civilized values are implanted, only to find their sheer brutality. This novel astonished, appalled and consternated many people because it reflected what many understood in private. It revealed that men enjoyed violence and showed Golding’s pessimism and scepticism. William Cooper's Scenes from Provincial Life (1950) is the mirror in which the new writers find an appropriate model to narrate the discontent of the post-war generation. Novels such as Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim (1954), John Wayne’s Hurry on Down (1953), John Braine's Room at the Top (1957), Allan Sillitoe's Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (1958), Keith Waterhouse's Billy Liar (1958), or David Storey's This Sporting Life (1960), dramatize the position of the individual who is aware of the new chances for upward social mobility. Hence, these literary works dealt with violence, disillusionment and identity crisis and its solution. Later in the modern era, the “alienation” of the artist is expressed.
Focusing on Asian and African Post-colonial literature depicting alienation and disillusionment, the natives of Asian and African continents, called as ‘Others’ (Bhabha, Said, 2003) were treated below the level of humanity by the colonizers, thus, developing resistance and estrangement in the next independent generations of these Asian as well as African people. To present the real essence and identity of these natives, the youth of these continents took the responsibility of representing instead of re-presenting their nations through their literature. As an American literary critic Stephen Greenblatt (1943) noted, ‘texts are the invisible bullets in the arsenal of Empires’ (Griffith, Helen & Tiffin, 2006). To find out these invisible bullets in the Eastern literature, themes of identity and cultural conflicts leading to disillusionment and alienation were traced. Ifidon Ehimika (1999:147) noted that “Every society is heterogeneous, and conflict is a feature of interaction among its components”. This conflict was dealt in Meja Mwangi’s (1948) Kill Me Quick (1973). Cultural and identity crises are the themes expressed by Chinua Achebe in his novels ‘ Man of the People ’ (1966), and a trilogy of novels ‘ Things Fall Apart’ (1958), ‘ No Longer at Ease’ (1960) and ‘ Arrow of God’ (1964) and also by Ngugi Wa Thiong ‘o (1938) ‘ Petals of Blood ’ (1977) in which he expresses the disillusionment of Kenyan people and their struggle as well as social and economic problems.
Homi K. Bhabha (1949), an Indian Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of English and American Literature and Language in his work (1994) developed the notions of ‘third space’ and ‘hybridity’, which is a state of ‘in-betweenness’ (p. 129). Thus, according to Bhabha (1949), hybridity or third space is an ‘interruptive, interrogative, and enunciatively’ (Bhabha,1994) a space of new forms of cultural meaning and production blurring the limitations of existing boundaries and calling into question the established categorizations of culture and identity. On the other hand, the cultural and identity conflicts built a third space for Hamid (1971)’s heroes, which caused their disillusionment and alienation from their immediate environment. According to Bhabha (1949), this third space is a mode of articulation, a way of describing a productive, and not merely reflective, space that engenders new possibility. Bhabha (1949) looked this hybrid third space as an ambivalent site where cultural meaning and representation have no ‘primordial unity or fixity’ (Bhabha, 1994). This third space was also experienced by Hamid (1971) because he lived in the West, travelling and dividing his time between America and Pakistan. Bapsi Sidhwa’s (1938) characters also faced the same ambivalence and hybridity in her novel American Brat (1995, India) which looked at the immigrant experience in the United States as she chronicled a young Pakistani girl’s exposure to totally different Western culture and her character’s experience of a new identity and the conflicts arose due to this new identity and cultural contact in the late 1970s. According to a Pakistani researcher Shireen Zubair, Feroza (An American Brat) fights against the boundaries that once confronted her, trying to find her true self. Hence, Sidhwa (1938) through her novel (An American Brat, 1995), depicts the diasporic identities of the women and cultural and identity conflicts within the traditions of a Pakistani family (Zubair, S, 2012, (PJSS) Vol. 32).
Asian and specifically South Asian literature dealt with themes of exile, cultural and identity conflicts and subsequent disillusionment and alienation. The pre-partition literature of the Sub-Continent in the background of colonization by Britain mirrors the barbarianism that knew no boundary. While the post-partition literature of Pakistan dealt with the ideological, socio-political and ethnic problems of Pakistani society. According to a researcher Mohammad Azam, the prominent writers of this period sketched a picture of strife, warfare, themes of disillusionment, nationalism, caste system, untouchability; taboos in food, incarnation and polytheism. A prominent Muslim writer who recorded the atrocities of British Raj in the Sub-Continent with a particular sense of despair was Ahmed Ali (1994) who in 1940 wrote the novel “Twilight in Delhi”. Set in 1911, Twilight in Delhi was a novel about Muslim neighborhood in Delhi where despair over the downfall of Mughals and the rise of the British was strong. Contemporaries of Ahmed Ali (1994) were Feroze Khan Noon (1970), Mumtaz Shahnawaz (1948) and Khwaja Ahmed Abbas (1987) who also portrayed the despicable picture of pre-partitioned sub-continent (Azam, Pakistani Literature, 2010)
Theme of solitude is expressed by the Colombian writer García Márquez's (2014) works. A literary critic Pelayo notes, "Love in the Time of Cholera (1985), like all of Gabriel García Márquez's works, explored the solitude of the individual and of humankind. Another notable writer John Arden (2012) was a British dramatist, noted for his politically challenging and linguistically rich plays in the tradition of Brecht; he wrote for radio and television as well as for the stage. Two plays written by him came out of the last few decades, an updating of Serjeant Musgrave to reflect the events of Bloody Sunday, and ‘ The Ballygombeen Bequest’, which is about an Irish tenant being hoodwinked by an absentee English landlord. This play ‘ The Ballygombeen Bequest’ is adapted by Pakistani writer Shahid Nadeem (1947) as ‘ Teesri Dastak ’ (1991).
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