Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

David Ball




This paper examines Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy, focusing on the ways in which the novel mirrors the parallels between writing and the attempted obliteration of cultural, linguistic, and religious difference in India after Independence and Partition. This quality of A Suitable Boy emphasizes the role of writing in the articulation of cultural difference through its depiction of the characters’ struggles to communicate in the same language and in the translation between different ones in North India between 1947 and 1952. The novel itself also grapples with these political implications of writing just as much as its characters, for its translation from English into Hindi and Bengali similarly illustrates the construction of identity through language. Ultimately, the writing in and the writing of A Suitable Boy critiques cultural and linguistic homogenization. By exposing the construction of identity, the novel reveals the actual heterogeneity of Indian society in the early 1950s.