Analysis

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 217

One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning novel published in 2010. The novel centers on 9 people, from various backgrounds, stuck in an Indian consulate in the United States after an earthquake entrapped them. The novel covers various topics and subtexts but the overall message is that telling stories is a cathartic experience that brings people--regardless of race, age, gender, and ideology--closer to understanding.

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The novel also explores the human condition, which is universal despite the Indian cultural references in the narrative. The characters are personifications or symbols of America's multiculturalism and the various ideologies of its citizens. Some characters perceive themselves to be more American than their ancestral homeland, while others feel alienated in America, or outright detest its modern culture and politics.

The fact that they are all trapped in a foreign consulate to apply for an Indian visa shows Divakaruni's brilliant use of symbolism. The characters intend to geographically and physically travel out of America by trying to acquire a visa, yet they become physically and geographically stuck in America.

The characters, in a sense, are all escapists, literally and figuratively. However, when they all tell "one amazing thing" about their life, they realize that what they've been searching for--physically, mentally, socially or spiritually--was simply a way to express their deepest suppressed emotions.

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