Anyone who have read the holder of the world

Essay – Critical Research Paper:  You must write and submit ONE 2500 word critical research paper.  This paper must be written in the genre of an undergraduate argument essay with a thesis statement and a correctly formatted Works Cited pageYou must write TWO drafts of this essay.  The First Draft of this essay is worth 10% of your final grade in the course.  The Final Draft of this essay is worth 20% of your final grade in this courseYou must submit BOTH a First Draft and a Final Draft ON TIME to receive respective grades for these assignments.  Please print your essay double-spaced, without gaps between paragraphs, in 12-point font size in a common font style such as Times New Roman.  The design of this document must conform to the MLA style.


In Telling Twice-Told Tales All Over Again: Literary and Historical Subversion in Bharati Mukherjee’s The Holder of the World, literary scholar Pallavi Rastogi claims that Bharati Mukherjee’s The Holder of the World “searches for a dialectic of intercultural negotiation through which mainstream American society is dramatically altered as much as it alters its own immigrant population” (269).  In other words, Rastogi believes that Mukherjee’s novel subverts the “ontological and epistemological distinction” between the East and the West that Edward Said describes as a defining feature of Orientalism (214).  Furthermore, Rastogi’s above quotation also shows that she believes in the equivalence of the “dialectic of intercultural negotiation” in the novel: American society is as dramatically altered by immigrants as immigrants are altered by American society.  Is this second claim true in your opinion?

Let’s remind ourselves once again of the scale and scope of Orientalism by perusing, with a critical eye, the definition of Orientalism according to Wikipedia (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..  

Note: While I do not consider Wikipedia to be a reliable source of scholarly information (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., I consider it an interesting source of popular information that often contains correctly documented scholarly information.  I point you to the Wikipedia entry on Orientalism to show you a good example of how Edward Said’s idea has become an idea in our information culture.  Do not use Wikipedia as a scholarly source in your academic essay.

Let’s also remind ourselves of the stakes involved in Orientalism as it affects the lives of actual people today. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

And it’s always useful to review that, for Edward Said, Orientalism is:

1. “Anyone who teaches, writes about, or researches the Orient… is an Orientalist, and what he or she does in Orientalism” (214).

2. “Orientalism is a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction made between “the Orient” and (most of the time) “the Occident” (214).

3. Orientalism is “the corporate institution for dealing with the Orient… by making statements about it, authorizing views of it, describing it, by teaching it, settling it, ruling over it: in short, Orientalism as a Western Style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient” (214).

For your culminating Essay in this course, therefore, argue ONE side of the claim that American society is as dramatically altered by immigrants and immigrants are altered by American society using Bharati Mukerjee’s The Holder of the World supplemented by your own research on contemporary American society using peer-reviewed academic database sources and high-quality online sources.


Works Cited

Said, Edward. “Introuction to Orientalism, 1978.” The Routledge Critical and Cultural Theory Reader, edited by Neil Badmington and Julia Thomas, Routledge, 2008, pp. 213-233.  

Rastogi, Pallavi. “Telling Twice-Told Tales All Over Again: Literary and Historical Subversion in Bharati Mukherjee’s The Holder of the World.” Form and Transformation in Asian American Literature, edited by Zhou Xiaojing and Samina Najmi,  U of Washington P, 2005, pp. 268-284.

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