Multiculturalism and the Other : A study of cultural intersections in Divakaruni’s The Mistress of Spices

Aparupa Mookherjee


   Our globalized world is marked with intense cultural encounters of all kinds leading to the dismissal of the ideas of class, caste, religion and culture as artificial constructs.  Here one remembers Perry Anderson’s quote of quotes about post-modernity being the celebration of  “ the crossover, the hybrid, the pot - pourri”. This is true for some post –modern writers who share the same post-colonial diasporic identity. Thereby multicultural literature emerge seeking to challenge the idea that “good fences make good  neighbours”, and to celebrate the cultural hybridity.  Cultural  intermingling results in redefining the borders of nation and ethnicity, class and religion, as well as foregrounding the marginalized voices.

   This paper proposes to study the various aspects of cultural intersections which challenge the monolithic notions of WASP culture, in Chitra  Banerjee  Divakaruni’s debut novel The Mistress of Spices , by using the textual analysis method . It seeks to examine how the novelist legitimizes the subaltern voices forming an integral part of the mosaic of the multi -cultural and multi-ethnic American society. The focus of the narrative is on the lives of the Indian diaspora who struggle hard to realize their immigrant dreams . Their encounters and bonding with other marginalized voices have  also been wonderfully explored by the novelist, who creates a ‘salad bowl’ of cultural intersections and cross- sections defying the notion of the ‘melting pot’ in culture theory. The author has successfully revived certain aspects of an ancient culture which have been pushed to the periphery by the effects of a global culture.


cultural encounters; post-colonial diasporic identity; cultural hybridity; cultural intermingling; marginalized voices; cultural intersections; subaltern voices.

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