Meena Alexander’s Autobiography: A Postcolonial Migrant Narrative

Shaju Nalkara Ouseph
Journal article International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation • November 2018 India • Sudan

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Abstract

Autobiography has been recognized as distinct literary genre, a challenging space for critical controversies about a range of ideas including authorship, selfhood, representation and the separation between fact and fiction. The representation of life accomplished by the writers enable them to construct a vivid perspective of their ‘self’ with myriad of memories. Meena Alexander’s Fault Lines: A Memoir (2003), an expanded edition of autobiography in the cross-cultural memoir series is probably one of the most authentic life stories written by a South Asian American writer at the turn of the twenty first century. When it was first published, this autobiography was chosen as one of Publishers Weekly’s “Best Books of 1993”. It traces her gradual evolution as a postcolonial writer from a privileged and protected childhood in India, her turbulent adolescence in Sudan, her academic journey to England and finally her migration to Manhattan, New York. Her memoir swings back and forth in time and space like a flashback narrative, in zigzag rhythm reflecting her multicultural life in four continents, Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. In this regard, this paper is an attempt to disclose her difficult recovery from racial, diasporic and traumatic experiences that revolutionizes the entire landscape of her writing space and of her very self, now and before. It investigates the major thematic concerns like racial consciousness, diaspora and migrant experience in the backdrop of gender and culture cognizance. It also examines the multicultural experiences of the writer that provoked her imagination and forced her to fabricate, to weave tales to chisel out a personal space amidst the agonies of her migrant life.

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International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Founded in 2018, the International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation (IJLLT) is ... see more

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Al-Kindi Center for Research and Development

Al-Kindi Center for Research and Development (KCRD) is an academic publisher that aims to bring t... see more