2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

Anarchic Linguistic Artistry: Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things and Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience"
Monica J. Morrey
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Gandhi's and Thoreau's ideological affinities inaccurately engender the supposition that Gandhi's non-violent movement was significantly inspired by Thoreau. While Thoreau advocated an anarchic form of individual self-responsibility to protest against governmental injustices, Gandhi encouraged mass action and community. Notwithstanding Thoreau's and Gandhi's commonalities, I suggest that it is not Gandhi, but Indian author Arundhati Roy whose ideology is most compatible with Thoreau's. Roy's novel The God of Small Things, a moral and social indictment of the caste system, paints the linguistic vocabulary and syntax of two eight-year-old twins, Rahel and Estha, to render the English language as an anarchic form of civil resistance to political and caste issues in India. Drawing on Roy's and Thoreau's literary and philosophical texts, respectively, I argue that both, in more significant ways than Thoreau and Gandhi, can be viewed as kindred spirits, separated by historical and cultural contexts but comparable in their desire and world-view.

Keywords: Arundhati Roy, Thoreau, linguistics, anarchy, Gandhi, The God of Small Things


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 13-2
Location: VH 1304
Time: 8:15

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