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Mapping the contours of a Tempestuous Interiority: Reading Kamala Das through Kristeva

Sandhya V1, Hari M G2 & Harini Jayarman3

1Assistant Professor, Department of English and Humanities, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore, India. Email: v_sandhya@cb.amrita.edu ORCID Id: 0000-0002-8885-3571

2Assistant Professor, Department of English and Humanities, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore, India. Email: mg_hari@cb.amrita.edu ORCID Id: 0000-0003-0508-8112

3Professor, Department of English and Humanities, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore, India. Email: j_harini@cb.amrita.edu ORCID Id:0000-0002-9747-2850

 Volume 10, Number 1, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n1.09

Received September 27, 2017; Revised December 11, 2017; Accepted December 30, 2017; Published February 04, 2018.

Abstract

This paper examines Kamala Das’ attempt to translate the ever changing contours of feminine subjectivity into the structured space of language, in the light of the French philosopher Julia Kristeva’s theorization of psyche. Das’ instinctual urge to resist definitive structuring of the inner zones of female consciousness echoes Kristeva’s concept of Revolt, which is identified to be the psychic re-ordering to explore the varied dimensions of subjectivity. Revolt is explained by Kristeva as the disruptive potential of the innate desire drives of human psyche, which challenge the very stability of the discourses pertaining to identity in the ‘Symbolic’. The manifestation of Revolt in the writings of Das breaks the fetters of gendered identity and opens up the possibilities to experience one’s ‘self’ in unspecified ways.  The resistance to the order of the ‘symbolic’ and the inclination to oscillate between the blurring borders separating the most natural urges of the “semiotic” and the ordered space of the symbolic, defines the essence of female psyche in Das. This paper discusses this unstable and trangressive nature of female subjectivity in Das which reflects Kristeva’s thrust on the dynamics of Revolt in defying categorization.

Keywords: Kamala Das, Kristeva, Revolt, Subjectivity

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