Problematic Hybrid Identity in the Diasporic Writings of Jhumpa Lahiri

In: Reconstructing Hybridity

This article examines the ways in which Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing engages with the issue of translation – if not non-translation – of identity. Main attention is on one of her stories, namely ‘This Blessed House’ from the Interpreter of Maladies. It is a post-colonial reading of the story and suggests that the emptiness of the house is illusory to begin with, that the artefacts were not ‘hidden’ nor ‘left behind.’ The colonialist, on arrival in the colony, assumed ownership over such things, without even considering the existence of the invisible colonized. In a diasporic postcolonial situation, as in Lahiri’s story, discoveries of empty spaces are unattainable – again underlining the falsity of the colonial situation; there never was an ‘empty space.’ It is argued that where something analogous to an ‘empty space’ can be found in diasporic stories is in questions of identity, although it is not a space of emptiness but of hybridity.

Reconstructing Hybridity

Post-Colonial Studies in Transition

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