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In StereotypeSouth Asia in the Global Literary Imaginary$
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Mrinalini Chakravorty

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165969

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165969.001.0001

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The Dead that Haunt Anil’s Ghost

The Dead that Haunt Anil’s Ghost

Subaltern Stereotypes and Postcolonial Melancholia

(p.119) 4 The Dead that Haunt Anil’s Ghost
In Stereotype

Mrinalini Chakravorty

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines Michael Ondaatje's novel, The Dead that Haunt Anil's Ghost, to address the stereotypical portrayal of violence and death in South Asia. The novel employs the Sri Lankan civil war as a staging ground for probing some of the paradoxes that arise in postcolonial fictions. Such narratives deal with stereotypes about death that are moored to a particular place and real events. The idea that this work advances—that life elsewhere is inherently insecure—redirects salient notions about the value of human life appraised through a dominant human rights framework. Also, the concept of death in Anil's Ghost demands that readers relinquish settled notions of how humans understand finitude and entanglements with the deaths of others, as well as ascribe meaning to death itself.

Keywords:   violence stereotypes, death stereotypes, Michael Ondaatje, Anil's Ghost, human life, human rights

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