The Ideology of Modernism in Amitav Ghosh's The Shadow Lines

Agarwal, Ritu R.
December 2010
IUP Journal of English Studies;Dec2010, Vol. 5 Issue 4, p15
Academic Journal
Literary Criticism
An attempt has been made in this paper to analyze The Shadow Lines as a novel which, in Lukac's words, is a work wherein the technique employed is not merely a stylistic device but a ''formative principle governing the narrative pattern and the presentation of characters.'' Amitav Ghosh's The Shadow Lines (1988) is the story of the family and friends of the nameless narrator which has its roots in broader national and international experience. In the novel the past, present and future combine and melt together erasing any kind of line of demarcations. The title is a good example for showing us the symbolist and the realist elements. For Lukac realism is the literary mode which is capable of representing the totality of society. Amitav Ghosh's The Shadow Lines is rooted in reality and yet it looks beyond. First of all, there is the use of simple language. Another significant factor the novel has is that the main characters are very real, almost rounded. The text deals with the concerns of our period, the search for identity, the need for independence, the difficult relationship with colonial culture. The Shadow Lines interweaves fact, fiction and reminiscence. It is a continuous narrative which replicates the pattern of violence not only of 1964 but also of 21st century. Lukac's ideology gets reflected in The Shadow Lines, which cannot be termed a 'realist' novel but a novel written with roots in modernism and postmodernism.


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