DR. SUMITRA HUIDROM
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCES, SCHOOL OF LAW
GAUTAM BUDDHA UNIVERSITY
U.P. INDIA 201308
In a world of diverse cultures, the ongoing process of immigration has led to the problematisation of culture which results from encounters between two different cultures. The encounter gives rise to tension between the native culture of the immigrant and the alien one of the adopted country, which has become the stamp of what is popularly known as expatriate writing .Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, a Polish Jew born in Germany, has made her mark as an expatriate writer in the literary world. Her expatriate experiences span across England, India and the USA. And her Indian expatriate experience has contributed remarkably to her literary career and overwhelms almost all her creations. It becomes quite inevitable for the authors to take up the theme of cross-cultural issues in most of her texts. In one of Jhabvala’s novels, Heat and Dust, the east-west conflict is examined through two English women whose lives and experiences in India follow almost the same trajectory. The author’s delineation of the said theme in the novel gives rise to two groups of critics and reviewers who are diagrammatically opposite to one another in their perspectives of the novel. The group of critics and reviewers who is from the east – especially from India, finds Jhabvala’s novel utterly flawed and condemns it for being biased against the Indian culture and its tradition, but the other group who belongs to the west, regards it as one of the artist’s greatest literary creations. A reader response critique of the text becomes necessary to examine the contentious issue and aims to provide a meaningful insight to the problem.
Key words: expatriate, cross-cultural, conflict, varying evaluations, reader-response.