The Great Indian Novel Analysis

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The second novel under discussion The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor is almost a sequel to Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children which, too, emerges from/ undertakes the darkest period of post-independence Indian history i.e. the Emergency and shares, with Midnight’s Children, stylistic and narratological experimentation which can be most closely aligned with postmodernism. It must be said; however, at the very outset that The Great Indian Novel distinguishes itself from Midnight’s Children in its overt attempt to ‘mythologize’ history. If the allegory in Rushdie’s tragic-comic epical saga tends to be more indirect and personal, it, in The Great Indian Novel, is more direct, straightforward and overt. The novel takes up its name from the great…show more content…
Allegory traditionally has been defined as a discourse that evokes events, personages and actions in a narrative that lie outside the narrative where these are evoked. It is a symbolic fictional narrative that conveys meaning not explicitly set forth in the narrative thus it recognizes the impossibility of direct representation offering the possibility of indirectly representing the unpresentable. It maintains the rupture between the sign and the meaning it signifies thus inviting the readers to decipher and uncover its meaning that exists on the other side of signification. And it is this idea of fissures and discontinuities, of double-meaning that has made allegory the most favorite trope in postmodern narratology. Though allegorical narratives can be found in every age in every society, and in India, they are acknowledged as the most popular form of story-telling (the Ramayana and the Mahabharata themselves are the allegories narrating the war between good and evil), yet allegories have become more popular and are extensively used in the postmodernist writings as they can more efficiently evoke the sense of dissensus, disruptions, gaps and fissures while producing a play of signifiers with their dual nature of referent-centres. The postmodern revival of allegory distinguishes itself from previous experiments in allegorical mode with its emphasis on the break and discontinuity and heightened metafictive awareness of
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