2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

A Phenomenological Reading of Amitav Ghosh's The Shadow Lines
Andrew J. McCall
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Throughout Amitav Ghoshs The Shadow Lines, the unnamed narrator presents the world as a complex system of memories, expectations, and assumptions that he inadvertently creates around the places he experiences. Both the narrative structure of The Shadow Lines and the unresolved tension between the narrator and his cousin Ila's worldviews constitute a challenge to traditional western ontology. Furthermore, the narrator's journey through "looking-glass" events to verify the riots that cause his cousin and idol Tridib's death, illustrates the chasm between written history and his personal experience, and highlights the difference between separation and physical distance. This paper will analyze the ways in which The Shadow Lines questions assumptions concerning a perceiver's objectivity, the structure of space and time, and the legitimacy of narratives, showing that the only coherent worldview one can draw from the novel is the same as expounded by Maurice Merleau-Ponty in his Phenomenology of Perception.

Keywords: Ahmitav Ghosh, The Shadow Lines, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology

Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 22-2
Location: MG 2090
Time: 9:45

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