Plasticity and Marginalization in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things: A Liquid Modern Reading
Keywords:Marginalization, Liquid Modernity, Zygmunt Bauman, Stereotypes, Westernized, Plastic
Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things is set in the post-partition India which deals with the cultural and societal change and fluidity in the Indian society caused under the influence of westernized culture and societal values, while predominantly dealing with the stereotypical, discriminatory and unfair treatment of certain gender and cast. The study attempts to look into how people tend to be seduced by some specific cultural values and discard some others even when they are moving towards being modernized, and in this case, under a group of colonizers’ agenda of teaching the uncivilized the civilized ways of life. The study is conducted in the light of two postulates of Zygmunt Bauman’s theorisation of Liquid Modernity. The first is the tendency of a constant change within a society and how the idea of modernity was the cause of decline in societal norms while the individuals are seduced by the ways of the West. The second is how Bauman terms the society to be plastic, meaning that it is something that can constantly be reshaped regardless of where and in what state it is. The paper also highlights the ways in which the plastic society challenges the traditional power structures in which women and lower castes are marginalized and suppressed by patriarchal hierarchy and caste system, emphasising the positive as well as negative impacts of the liquid modern society, positing manifestation of liquid modernity in which there is no certainty or fixedness. The findings show that the characters in the selected novel are strongly influenced by the modern Western values and their native culture is significantly altered by that of the English, both in positive and negative ways, and there are no fixed cultural values.
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