The maximalist transformation of the female immigrant identity in Bharati Mukherjee's Jasmine and The Holder of the World

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2010-01-01
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Hazenson, Lauren
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Diane Price-herndl
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English

The Department of English seeks to provide all university students with the skills of effective communication and critical thinking, as well as imparting knowledge of literature, creative writing, linguistics, speech and technical communication to students within and outside of the department.

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The Department of English and Speech was formed in 1939 from the merger of the Department of English and the Department of Public Speaking. In 1971 its name changed to the Department of English.

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1939-present

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  • Department of English and Speech (1939-1971)

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Bharati Mukherjee's novels Jasmine and The Holder of the World mark the beginning of what would become Mukherjee's trademark style, which she coins "maximalism". This literary analysis explores maximalism and the unique implications this writing style has on the role of the female immigrant in American culture. Maximalism's widely inclusive and detailed juxtaposes texts, people, and environments that are seemingly polarized due to class, race, traditions, religions or national identity in way that calls into question their differences. The overlapping concepts in the novels discourage social categorization and grant marginalized female immigrant characters the agency to pick and choose which elements of culture to retain or adopt. By creating these overlaps in social categories Mukherjee also asserts the recent immigrant's place in American mainstream literature and culture by complicating the concept of linear cultural ancestry.

The female immigrant is portrayed as the maximalist ideal in these novels because of her unique ability to transform psychologically in order to adapt to new cultural environments.

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Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2010