An Element of Diasporic Identity in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s The Mistress of Spices

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P. Venkata Ramana, Dr. K. K. Sunalini, B. Pavan Kumar


This paper aims at representing a diasporic element in the works of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Complex experiences of Indians living in the Eastern and the Western countries are frequently represented as the characters who try to assert their glorious Indian culture in terms of plot, diction, imagery, and characterization. The present paper highlights certain issues which revolve around women who search for their identity in the context of diaspora.

The Mistress of Spices elevates various incidents which happen in the life of the protagonist who tries to establish her identity in the Oakland. When we observe the life of Tilotthama in the light of her birth and struggle for existence, it is clear that she tries to create her identity and this gains the sympathy of the readers.  The novel revolves around the elements of myth and romance. The plot recreates a world of mythology in which spices play a vital role in the lives of the protagonist and the immigrants. The novel focuses on the cultural conflict between the East and the West.  When we observe the opening lines of the novel, Divakaruni describes India as a “land of ardent poetry and aquamarine features” (MS3). This sums up the exotic picture of India seen through the eyes of the westerner. The Mistress of Spices is about the story of magic in spices as curatives which for therapeutic use wielded by a masquerading of old woman who in reality is young and full of vigor.

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