Reflections of the Past in Amitav Ghosh’s Novels -The Shadow Lines and The Glass Palace

Anney Alice Sharene

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(English, 4 pages)


This paper takes into discussion the diasporic phenomena, namely, rootlessness, nostalgia, memory and alienation in two of Amitav Ghosh’s novels namely The Shadow Lines and The Glass Palace. It infers that the characters get respite from memory banks. Ghosh uses the flashback technique in order to intensify the characters’ quest for identity. Diasporic literature traverses barricades in order to clinch a new selfhood. The very thought and longing for belongingness form the core to search for the original root. It refers to the rootedness namely one’s home-place. One is not able to detach from the human bondage, sentiments, and love. Another element which is associated with this attachment to home-place is ‘Memory’. An immigrant never forgets one’s home-place. The thread which links the past and the present is the recollection. Thus, nostalgia and memory are equally interlinked to search for one’s root or belongingness. This fixation to one’s home-place is the belongingness which is portrayed through the lens of recollection and flash back technique. Past always acts as a mirror in which the present has its reflections. In the Shadow Lines the glorious memories of Calcutta and Dhaka are beautifully pictured by the characters longing for their homelands. The partition of Bengal and the resultant trauma are widely depicted. The old family house stands as a wholesome framework of attachment of deeprootedness. It remains a home for the grandmother, even after partition and she always longs to see it again. In the Glass Palace, home thoughts are not something to be merely remembered as an abstract construct but represented as a cultural tool of negotiation for new cultural encounters. Thus, a new space is created through home thoughts which helps in the construction of a new identity. The past is remembered not as a dead, remote period, but as flowing on, into the present.




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