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Publication Date

Summer 2015

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


English and Comparative Literature


Revathi Krishnaswamy


Partition Literature, South Asian Literature, Trauma theory

Subject Areas

English literature


This study presents an analysis of the trauma and sacrifice of the female body within the genre of South Asian partition narratives. In an attempt to refocus Partition Studies on female bodies and expand the understanding of trauma to a postcolonial context, three key texts written by South Asian female authors were analyzed: Cracking India (1991) by Bapsi Sidhwa, What the Body Remembers (2000) by Shauna Singh Baldwin, and Clear Light of Day (1980) by Anita Desai. In each of these novels, the partition of the Indian subcontinent forms the backdrop against which the trauma of individual women is narrated. This study was focused on the way female bodies resist patriarchal nationalist narratives associated with the period of the partition of the Indian subcontinent. It was also an attempt to analyze how the transgressive power of the traumatic experience of female bodies creates momentary ruptures in masculinist narratives.