Elements of Magical Realism in the Odyssey of Protagonist in Chithra Bannerjee Divakaruni?s THE MISTRESS OF SPICES
This paper defines magical realism and traces its origin. It states how Chitralekha Banerjee Divakaruni has dexterously employed this literary device in her novel The Mistress of Spices. In Divakaruni?s novels, the opposites co-exist but instead of contradicting, they only complement one another. Her vivid and engaging style strongly supports the character development of the protagonists. The coexistence of magical fantasy and the characteristics of hybrid culture with postcolonial or postmodern novelistic devices in her novels and short stories has often led the author to define her writing approach as magical realism. Circumstances are never very easy in any of Divakaruni?s novels or short stories. Tilo plays many roles and keeps on changing her names to befit her roles. This universalizes the complex problem of identity crisis that the Indians try to cope up with, in a foreign land. She has been changing her name from NayanTara as a daughter to Bhagyavati during her stay with the pirates, then to Tilo, and finally Maya when she finds her love. The name Maya is very interesting to note since it means illusion. One can pause and ask whether Maya is real or another illusion created by the author to enhance the magical suspense in the novel or whether it is the newly found identity of Tilo. The name is noteworthy since the novel has magical elements. The name ?Maya? reinforces the theme. KEY WORDS: Magic realism, identity crisis, hybrid culture, metamorphosis.
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