Kanthapura plays a key role in the reading of theories of postcolonial literature by consciously demarcating a literary space for native anti-colonial voices through a subversive mixture of deference and disobedience. The postcolonial Kanthapura consciously adopts a stance where the native appears to observe the normative and semantic requirements of colonial discourse (use of English, for example) but subverts the foundational assumptions by substituting native voices and viewpoints.
Kanthapura’s writing is, consequently, an example of what postcolonial literary critics call radical mimicry. These critics note that Kanthapura’s colonial vocabulary and form are differentiated by native appropriation in an act of culturally subversive mimicry. Anti-colonial writers transgress the norms of Western literature by inserting non-Western voices and local culture. His story of the impact of Gandhi's ideas on the inhabitants of a rural Indian village is told in English. The author knows English cannot convey the tempo and cadence of Indian speech, so he adopts the English to his own Indian postcolonial purpose.