Migration and Identity Crisis in Benyamin’s Goat Days


  • Surya Suresh Kumar Guest Faculty, St. Teresa's College, Ernakulam, Kerala, India




Migration, Dehumanisation, Alienation, Identity Crisis, Psychological Trauma, Isolation, Migrant Labourers.


Migration is the movement of people from one place/country to another in search of better job opportunities or educational purposes or occurs due to political and social conflicts.  This brings about a change in their social, cultural and psychological circumstances, which often makes them feel alienated in their lives. They experience a sense of disillusionment and loss of identity, which gradually leads them into psychological trauma where they start to question their identity. Benyamin’s Goat Days portrays the life of Najeeb, a poor Malayali who in the hope of earning money decides to work in the Gulf. However, his journey of hope soon transforms to despair with the cruel treatment of his sponsor. He finds himself, alienated among the herd of goats and yearns to meet his family. His desolation pushes him into a psychological trauma where he starts to identify himself with the goats. This paper focuses on the concept of migration, alienation and identity crisis faced by Najeeb, the protagonist who represents the hopes and desires of every Malayali who yearn for a sumptuous future, which they believe will be offered in the Gulf.  Moreover, the novel is set in the background of the Oil Era in the Gulf which gives every Malayali the dream of a secure future.



Download data is not yet available.


Ahmad Attiya. “Beyond Labour in the Gulf.” Centre for International and Regional Studies, 25 May 2011, www.repository.library.georgetown.edu.in. Accessed 7 Mar. 2018.
Benyamin. Goat Days. Translated by Joseph Koyipally, Penguin Books, 2012.
Chalcraft, John. “Monarchy, migration and hegemony in the Arabian Peninsula.”
Kuwait Programme on Development, Governance and Globalisation in the Gulf States, 26 Oct 2010. www.eprints.lse.ac.uk. Accessed on 7 Mar 2018.
Gardener, Andrew. “Why Do They Keep Coming? Labour Migrants in the Gulf States.” Centre for International and Regional Studies, 25 May 2011, www.repository.library.georgetown.edu.in. Accessed 7 Mar. 2018.
Narnolia, Nitesh, Mousam. Migration and its Psychological Impacts: A Study of Benyamin’s Novel Goat Days. Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism, 3 Mar 2012. www.grfdt.org. Accessed on 2 March 2018.
Nivesh, Sudhaveni. “Indian Migration to Gulf Countries: Issues and Challenges” International Research Journal of Commerce Arts and Science”, vol.6, no.6, pp. 76 81, www.casirj.com. Accessed 7 Mar 2018.
Orellana, Carlos De. “Gramsci on Hegemony.” Not Even Past, 26 May 2015, www.notevenpast.org. Accessed 7 Mar. 2018.
Sen, Amartya. The Identity and Violence: The Illusions of Destiny.Penguin Books, 2007.
Varma, Shreekumar. “Life and times of a Goat”. The Hindu, [Kochi], 06 Oct 2012, p. 11.
“Aadu Jeevitham portrays bitter life of migrants in Gulf: Benyamin.” The Hindu, 30 May 2012.

Additional Files



How to Cite

Kumar, S. S. (2020). Migration and Identity Crisis in Benyamin’s Goat Days. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, 8(5), 42–50. https://doi.org/10.24113/ijellh.v8i5.10580