Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10356/61604
Title: Outcaste and outcast: navigating the caste system in indian literature
Authors: Loo, Stefany Hui Mei
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: India’s caste system has been the dominant social structure for centuries, and because of its close ties with Hinduism, it has largely resisted attempts to dismantle it in the face of political revision, and despite the efforts of lawmakers. The idea of social hierarchy is deeply ingrained in Indian consciousness, and this can be seen in several prominent literary texts in Indian literature in English. With reference to Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchable, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, and The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, this dissertation will argue that the caste system has embedded a need in India for social hierarchies, and the attempt to dismantle caste has been largely unsuccessful due to the refusal of upper castes/classes to relinquish their positions of power. I propose that this is due to a need to construct an Other in order for members of society to preserve their sense of superiority, resulting in the creation of a different system of appraisal; as India slowly shifts away from the caste system, it has simultaneously moved closer to a hierarchy where one’s worth is determined by socioeconomic status, thus rendering low-income servants “outcasts” that are vulnerable to exploitation, very much like the situations faced by Dalits. Because of this, those belonging to the fringes of society—a space in which they belong to Indian society but are prevented from fully participating in it—are kept in this liminal position. I will then explore various types of performativity that outcastes and outcasts rely on in negotiating their place in the face of social rejection.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10356/61604
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:HSS Theses

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