Individual Identity and Quest for Survival: An Exploration of the Inner Psyche of the Existential Hero in Anita Desai’s Voices in the City

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Dr. Rashmi Rekha Saikia


Literature is the finest manifestation of human experience, thinking patterns and social norms prevalent in the society. Literary fiction reflects the aspirations, passions and faith and so forth. Fiction which represents life in all its complexities is one of the most dominant forms of literary representation. In the Indian context, the paradigm shift that took place in literature focus on the profusely creative literary release on multifarious issues that directly linked with individual identity and consciousness. Voices in the City is a seminal work by Anita Desai. It stands unparalleled to other fictional works of her contemporaries as it manifests the existential quest and social conflict unraveling the psychosomatic miseries of the individual characters that permeates the entire novel. The novel echoes the mute voices of the characters who feel outlandish in the city of Calcutta. As a novelist of human concern, Desai exhibits a strong inclination towards the existentialist interpretation of the human predicament. Voices in the City documents the pitiable plight and failure of a typical Bengali youth, Nirode along with his sisters Monisha and Amla in the city of Calcutta. The novel mainly projects the spiritual cataclysm of a journalist Nirode, who is destined to reside in Calcutta in quest for finding truer meaning of life. The study attempts to explore the intense sufferings, disappointments and frustrations of the wrathful youth which arises out of the intense sensitivity of his intellectuality.


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Dr. Rashmi Rekha Saikia. “Individual Identity and Quest for Survival: An Exploration of the Inner Psyche of the Existential Hero in Anita Desai’s Voices in the City”. The Creative Launcher, vol. 4, no. 5, Dec. 2019, pp. 62-67, doi:10.53032/tcl.2019.4.5.10.


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