How can Desai's "Studies in the park" be addressed from a postcolonial perspective? 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If we were to take the postcolonial perspective in analyzing Desai's "Studies in the Park," I think that we would have to focus on how the work speaks to a "before" and "after' condition as essential to being in the world.  One of the major points of emphasis in Postcolonialism is the focus on how things change after the prevailing Colonial order passes.  In Suno's world, this is not in the form of imperialistic control as much as it is with how his parents define his world.  The emphasis on "study, study, study" is a dominant order that Suno finds oppressive.  Similar to Postcolonial analysis, the emphasis that the prevailing order demands is not communicated in the clearest of manners.  For example, while the emphasis is for Suno to study, the environment in which he studies is difficult.  While his family demands he study, they don't create the conditions for this to effectively happen.  The constant disruptions and interruptions create mixed messages from the dominant order.  This is consistent with the claim from Postcolonial thinkers that the Status Quo was imminently flawed with its emphasis and the means by which it sought execute it.  When Suno breaks free and enters the park, he is experiencing a world of what can be, a world of what might be apart from the dominant order of what is. In this light, one can see a Postcolonial perspective in Desai's work.  Suno becomes the Postcolonial individual who is forced to construct a new identity out of what was into what is and what can be, reflecting him to reevaluate the Status Quo's emphasis on "study, study, study."  In being able to forge and create a new identity, Suno embodies the Postcolonial individual who must make sense out of what can be from an order that sought to define one's identity as what is.

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