Articulation of 'Selfhood' with the Intervention of Postmodernism in Monica Ali's in the Kitchen

By Prajapati, Abhisarika | IUP Journal of English Studies, September 2015 | Go to article overview

Articulation of 'Selfhood' with the Intervention of Postmodernism in Monica Ali's in the Kitchen


Prajapati, Abhisarika, IUP Journal of English Studies


In the recent decades, the cult of postmodernism has developed as a new platform to discuss the issues of struggle, conflicts, tension and contemporaneity of our contemporary time from a fresh and relevant perspective. It offers a potential impetus to explore man's perennial quest for selfhood and its strong articulation. We are living in an age of extremes. There are the extremes of wealth, materialistic growth, extremes of violence and hatred in interpersonal relationships, extremes of idealism and practice and above all extremes of suppression and superficial craving for unprecedented individualism. Sometimes we feel that there is overarching of our demands and problems. There is notable shifting of determinants and implications of our social values in the present context. We are living in the era of abundance of scientific growth and technological advancement. But we are not free from outdated and irrelevant traditions and barbarism. Our age is simply defined as an age of paradox and dichotomy.

Postmodernism is a sensibility which is not the scenario after modernism but it is recognized as a continuation of modernism surfing its own past. There is no lamentation but it is generally punctuated with the footprints of a sort of celebration of the present situation. Whatever is, is.

There is no nostalgia but past is always present in determining the present. Here we find extremes of reality which is hyper-real and replace the real in man's life and living. Postmodernism rejects any interrelation among several aspects of life; it asserts meaninglessness and fragmentation of human self and selfhood and promotes obscurantism and propagates abstruse form of existence of man. There is no synthesis, only analysis of absurd situation of man. It simply puts emphasis on 'the center cannot hold and things have fallen apart'. Peter (2010) says:

For the postmodernist, by contrast, fragmentation is an exhilarating, liberating phenomenon, symptomatic of our escape from the claustrophobic embrace of fixed system of belief. In a word, the modernist laments fragmentation while the postmodernist celebrates it. (p. 81)

Monica Ali's third novel In the Kitchen is a perfect example of postmodern condition of man searching for the self and entity. She is a Bangladesh-born eminent writer of fiction whose Brick Lane is a much discussed novel in the realm of diaspora study. She examines the entire process of quest of selfhood through the character of Gabe without feeling the burden of representation of her ethnic group. Her absolute focus is on existential dilemma and query of her protagonist amid the various relationships-his relation with his own self, with his parents, with his opposite sex, with his society and with his world with the realization of a supreme power and metaphysical command. The setting of the novel In the Kitchen is the multicultural kitchen of a grand hotel called the Imperial. Of course it was not a hit like her first novel but undoubtedly it is unavoidable on certain literary grounds. This time she has tried to explore the changing human psyche and quest of man for selfhood in the chaotic and uncertain scenario of his milieu from an existential point of view. She has tried to project the inner state of mind of man with his constant effort to find a permanent and authentic 'self' without 'the burden of representation' in the postmodern world.

Monica Ali was born in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, in the year 1967. Her mother was an English and her father an Indian. Though she was born in Bangladesh, she was raised in England. Her parents had to move from the place due to the Civil War in the year 1971. Her first masterpiece Brick Lane was published in 2003. In 2007, the book was adapted as a film of the same name. Her second novel Alentejo Blue was published in 2006 and her third In the Kitchen in 2009. No doubt Monica Ali's In the Kitchen has fabulous and beautiful descriptions but it is also not generally taken to be an outstanding piece of fiction though it has interesting layers of existential tension to unfold. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Articulation of 'Selfhood' with the Intervention of Postmodernism in Monica Ali's in the Kitchen
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.