"Don't Be Sorry. We Didn't Do This.": Narrating Diaspora and Problematizing Choice in V.V. Ganeshananthan's Love Marriage

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2021.003705

Abstract

This paper discusses how, through a compelling storytelling exercise, V.V. Ganeshananthan’s first novel Love Marriage succeeds in productively articulating a sense of Sri Lankan Tamil diasporic identity. The analysis focuses on the crucial issue of choice, which operates at different levels. Regarding authorship, Ganeshananthan, an American-born second-generation Sri Lankan Tamil, chooses to write a story that has not yet been told, and makes significant choices which necessarily impinge on the textual politics, namely problematizing the genre of her story to visit both history and memory from the area of fiction. Most significantly, the politics of choice are salient at an intradiegetic level, as the novel explores the ethical viability of the choices made by some of the main characters, namely two of the protagonist’s close relatives, who may see the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as the only possibility to defend a political stance or, simply, to safeguard the dignity of living. Love Marriage also provides detailed insight of certain dynamics of this diasporic community, mostly articulated around the connections of marriage and family life. Finally, the analysis focuses on the political and emotional choices forced upon diasporic subjects, to conclude that these become more testing when it comes to members of the second generation.

Keywords

Second Generation, Politics of Choice, Tamil, Tamil-Canadian, Sri Lankan Conflict

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Professor
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faruk
Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)