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Identity Crisis in Jhumpa Lahiri,s characters Gogol and Usha- a psychological perspective

V Meenakshi

PHD Research Scholar ,Reva University,Bangalore

Dr. Premalatha S

Asst Prof, Reva University,Bangalore

Email ID : meenakshi.venkatachalam08@gmail.com

 

 

Auto Biobiography of Author V Meenakshi:

My name is Meenakshi. I hail from the city,Madurai, Tamilnadu popular for its heritage temple of the deity, Meenakshi. My mother tongue is Tamil. I did my schooling and graduation at St. Joseph’s Matriculation school and Lady Doak College respectively. I am married with two sons who are engineers and are right now employed in I. T. sectors. My husband is a businessman in the garment industry. I am settled in Bangalore for the past twenty-five years. I have been working in M.E.S college, Malleswaram,Bangalore for ten years in both Pre-University and degree college as a lecturer in English. My keen interest in enhancing my professional capacity motivated me to take up higher studies and right now I am a research scholar in Reva University, Bangalore.

Abstract

Every individual search for his or her identity in their lives’ cycle. The quest for identity or the answer for the existential query, ‘Who am I?’ is the underlying aspect which creeps into the psyche of each and every human being irrespective of the gender. Sigmund Freud, a great psychoanalyst of the Victorian age started delving deep into the various stages of human development and its impact on the growth in any individual’s overall personality traits. He has traced the stages right from birth. His theory has been further expanded by yet another psychoanalyst Eric Erikson. According to Freud the human development ends with adolescence but Erikson goes on to extend it beyond to the later ages of human life cycle. In his eight stages of psychosocial development he goes on to present in detail from ‘infancy to adulthood’.  “Erikson’s stage theory characterises an individual advancing through the eight life stages as a function of negotiating his or her biological forces and socio-cultural forces. Each stage is characterised by a psychosocial crisis of these two conflicting forces”. Jhumpa Lahiri, a famous diasporic writer in some of her works has dealt with some of her characters from this identity crisis. In this article, the fifth stage of Erikson’s theory- the adolescent stage is going to be the main focus. In this stage, any individual undergoes a complex psychological process called ‘repression ‘due to their unconscious defense mechanism allied to their memories, feelings and thoughts, In due course it is transferred to ‘rationalization ‘which tends to provide justification to their behaviour. Feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, conflict and lack of reward takes over due to a form of ‘regression’. This blocks their more appropriate behaviour but in the due course gives rise to a new and useful behaviour to give themselves a new social identification. The next stage can be termed as ‘Displacement’ wherein the unacceptable urges may be channelled into more acceptable behaviour for example the conversion of sexual interest and energy to non-sexual activities like sports and religion. The characters who are going to be discussed are Gogol from ‘The Namesake’ and Usha from the short story ‘Hell-Heaven. Both suffer due to their growing up in the American soil and due to the socio-cultural forces, which influence them immensely.

journal of english

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2017-09-29T06:39:12+00:00
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