IJSSH 2016 Vol.6(1): 65-71 ISSN: 2010-3646
DOI: 10.7763/IJSSH.2016.V6.620

Metamorphosing Jasmine: Identity Sorting in Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine

Chuen-Shin Tai
Abstract—Searching for and defining a new identity is a central question for immigrants living in a foreign land. The confusion this causes them pushes them into an identity crisis. This work by Bharati Mukherjee exposes how Jasmine, the female protagonist, as an outsider strives to shape her identity to fit in mainstream American society. Fortunately, Jasmine encounters confirmations of her shifting identity in different stages of her life. Instead of rejecting these identities and names in various phases, she seeks to create a harmonious relationship with those identities. This paper examines how those identities and changes of name assist her in relocating her self-value as well as in achieving spiritual maturity as an immigrant women struggling to cope with American culture in terms of Stuart Hall’s perspectives on fluidity and non-fixed identity. In such a process, renaming becomes a way for Jasmine to survive and further her development through transformation and the adoption of different selfhoods. Certainly, what makes Mukherjee worth reading is that she draws on the anguish of the uprooted individual and her inevitable frustration with her hostile environment but this experience also generates a sense of rebirth and reincarnation. Thus, I would like to demonstrate how the character of Jasmine undertakes the search for a new self and identity through fortitude and courage until she finds a way of life that satisfies her.

Index Terms—Fluidity, identity, rename, self-value.

Chuen-Shin Tai is with the Applied English Department, Shih Chien University Kaohsiung Campus, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan (e-mail: kellytai@mail.kh.usc.edu.tw).

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Cite: Chuen-Shin Tai, " Metamorphosing Jasmine: Identity Sorting in Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 65-71, 2016.

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