Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Sonali Perera

Second Advisor

Tanya Agathocleous

Academic Program Adviser

Janet Neary


Though Western scholarship tends to homogenize South Asian experiences, researchers and novelists shed light on different classes of South Asian postcolonial and migratory women who experience mutability, or the internal and external changes as a trauma response after British colonial rule ended and the 1947 Partition abruptly fractured national identity. Though this mutability has positive and negative transformative qualities, it also allows women characters the power to remove themselves from cycles of oppression, work towards healing, and transforming their physical bodies from sites of repressed trauma to sites of expression and agency. What binds them is not only their physical movement and migration, but the timeless and collectively shared trauma of acculturation and assimilation, in the face of determining their identities. This work investigates how mutability is represented in distinct postcolonial female characters in several of Saadat Hasan Manto’s short fiction stories on Partition, Monica Ali’s Brick Lane, Alka Joshi’s The Henna Artist, Mahasweta Devi’s “The Hunt”, and Tahmima Anam’s A Golden Age.



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