Unearthing the Diasporic bhadramahila in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth and Bharati Mukherjee’s Desirable Daughters


  • Ana María Crespo Gómez Universidad de Zaragoza


This study aims to examine the influence of the bhadramahila construct both in the Bengal colonial context and its reproduction in the imaginary of the Indian American family dynamics. The works under discussion are:  Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story anthology Unaccustomed Earth (2008) and Bharati Mukherjee’s novel Desirable Daughters (2002). Both  give evidence to the academic discussions on the position of the bhadralok and bhadramahila in Bengal (India) during colonial times, a rare topic in both Lahiri’s and Mukherjee’s stories. The article puts into perspective the making of the “New Woman” in Bengal in the nineteenth century, then moves to the literary section where it analyses how female characters reproduce their cultural baggage in a hybrid setting and deal with inner conflicts, hence inaugurating the figure of the diasporic bhadramahila in the context of the United States.


Jhumpa Lahiri, Unaccustomed Earth, Bharati Mukherjee, Desirable Daughters, diasporic bhadramahila, Bengal, nineteenth century


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Author Biography

Ana María Crespo Gómez, Universidad de Zaragoza

Ana María Crespo Gómez is a lecturer at the University of Zaragoza. She is currently pursuing a PhD degree at the University of Almería, with a focus on South Asian diaspora literature. Her findings have been published in various journals and monographs.




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