Ambivalence of Identity as an Extension of Colonial Discourse in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger

Göksel Kaya


The aim of this study is to critically analyse the identity issue based on postcolonial theory in one of the most important novels of the Victorian era, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and another novel, The White Tiger with which Indian writer Aravind Adiga won the Booker Prize in 2008. This study attempts to implement such an exploration not only in the context of western thought, but also from different angles with the realities of the oppressed nations of the Third World, especially India in order to construct the ‘other’ based on the other individuality. Both of the prominent writers in their works lay bare many scenes that focus on the problems of the heroes creating the basis of the events in question. That is why they take into consideration the state of the individual, because the central characters’ conflicts and developments present different aspects of the novel while constructing the individuality and identity behind the societal problems in terms of class conflict. They live under different circumstances to discover themselves and in each of the novels we can bear witness to the existence of some characters who achieve a sense of personal and social identity in the Victorian society of England, a time when great social and economic changes were taking place; and then in India where people suffer from the administrations of the members of Gandhi family led by especially Indira and Rajiv Gandhi. This study thereby examines how the individuals are exposed to the social, economic and political factors of the country where they live.


Cultural Identity, Ambivalence, Class Conflict, Postcolonialism

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