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Bharati  Mukherjee
芭拉蒂•穆可吉
圖片來源:http://www.umiacs.umd.edu/users/sawweb/sawnet/books_bios.html#bharati_mukherjee
主要文類:Novel
資料提供者:Kate Liu (劉紀雯)、陳筑筠
關鍵字詞:World Literature in English

陳筑筠編譯
July 2011

芭拉蒂•穆可吉
Bharati Mukherjee (1940~)

 

生平簡介

        芭拉蒂•穆可吉於1940年6月27日出生於加爾喀達 (Calcutta),她的父母都是孟加拉人,家境富裕,她接受的是英國傳統式教育。1948年至1951年,與家人在英國居住。1959年,從加爾各答大學畢業,1961年獲英語和印度古代文化碩士學位。1961年赴艾奧瓦大學(University of Iowa)參加創作班並於1969年獲艾奧瓦大學英語和比較文學博士學位。此後,她開始追求自己的夢想:成為一名專業作家。穆可吉本來打算返回印度,但她在艾奧瓦與加拿大/美國作家克拉克.布萊茲(Clark Blaise)相識後兩人決定結婚,從此她的生活便不可避免地橫跨兩個世界。在1970年代,她受聘加拿大蒙特利爾的麥基爾大學(McGill University)任教職。1980年遷居美國,曾在幾所大學任教,1989年起在加州大學伯克利分校執教至今。她的作品大多是從各種不同的角度記敘了她的移民歷程。因此她的小說大多描寫文化衝突和人物的文化意識轉變,反映出東西方文化和價值觀之差異,人在這兩種世界堛漕熁齱B困惑和苦惱。穆可吉主要作品有1971年的《老虎的女兒》 (The Tiger's Daughter),主要描寫一個受過美國教育的印度女子回到印度後的生活經歷,從社會和政治方面體現文化衝突。1975年的《妻子》(Wife) 、1985年的《黑暗》(Darkness)、1986年的《加爾各答的日日夜夜》 (Days and Nights in Calcutta) 則是記錄她在印度的生活經歷。其作品敏感細緻,東西文化韻味交織相映、另外在1987年與克拉克.布萊茲(Clark Blaise)合著《悲情與恐怖:印度航空公司慘案遺事》 (The Sorrow and the Terror: The Haunting legacy of the Air India Tragedy) 、1988年的《短篇小說集:中介》(The Middleman and Other Stories) 、1989年的《茉莉花》 (Jasmine) 、1993年的《坐擁世界》(The Holder of the World)、2002年的《稱心的女兒》(Desirable Daughter)。

 

作品風格與主題

一、多元的移民經驗

        她的故事雖然充滿多元的情節與角色,但卻可以呈現出共同的主題。儘管她的小說《茉莉花》有特別聚焦在印度移民經驗,《短篇小說集:中介》探討的卻是廣泛的美國移民概念。而其他故事像是”Fighting for Rebound” 和 “Orbiting”則是從某個移民和其他移民之間的關係去探討移民概念。而《一個妻子的故事》(A Wife's Story)和《房客》(The Tenant)則是由移民本身作為第一人稱敘述自己的故事。這些都是著重在移民個體本身的故事。因為這些不同故事的多元角度敘述,選集的重要性不僅僅限於呈現一個文化經驗。書中反映的是故事主角們感到他們身處兩個世界之間的矛盾與衝突。例如一個越南老兵感受佛羅里達對他來說就是一個異境,或是一個父親認同恐懼與他半個越南血統小孩的犧牲,無論是移民、交換學生、抑或是美國文化中的局外人都是穆可吉書寫的對象。

 

二、種族歧視與刻板印象

        另一個串連這些故事的常見主題是許多美國人的種族歧視態度。少數族裔被生在美國的人們以不同的種族代稱給毀謗和汙名化。在選集的最後一個故事探討的是同一文化但不同地區的人們如何透過暴力的施行導致彼此厭惡與仇視。同樣地,穆可吉檢視出現在印度移民與一般移民之間的各種刻板印象。在角色方面可以發現印度家庭都經營飯店、吃辣的食物、或是穿傳統服飾。有一些移民雖然來到美國念書但還是過著家鄉的生活。藉由賦予這些角色聲音和故事,穆可吉擬人化這些普遍的意像,並使得讀者可以進入角色們的心理層面窺探他們內心的想法。此外,這些故事中很多女性都受到男性暴力和控制的壓迫,以及社會對這些女性過度的異國化刻板印象。因為他們的與眾不同、異國化的刻板印象使她們便成慾望的客體。在《房客》一文中,馬雅被視為與她原生文化分離,因而被比喻為沒有手臂的男人。當比爾稱呼茉莉花為「特利尼達之花」(Flower of Trinidad),他所要強調的是茉莉花的異國情調,身為「他者」的處境,即使茉莉花後來有糾正他應該是「安納寶市之花」(flower of Ann Arbor)。茉莉花對教育與融入美國有高度興趣,但比爾只對她這外來者的身分有興趣。

 

三、傳統、同化和改變

        想建立文化認同、免於種族與文化歧視的願望反而導致一種新與舊之間的衝突。更確切的例子顯現在角色們如何稱呼其他角色,例如傳統的印度女性並不直呼丈夫的名子。穆可吉也透過衣服與裙子來探討這個議題。藉由放棄穿著傳統沙麗(Sari)而改穿西方的洋裝,印度女人在他們的社群裡得到「名聲」,因而被視為太主動、激進地擁抱美國式理想和對美的標準。對於女性可以選擇自己的伴侶這個想法對主角們來說太過激進,而試圖平衡印度家鄉的期待與新找到的自由和多元習俗與文化所造成的衝突也給故事中角色們帶來過度的壓力。穆可吉的角色們並非總是好人,他們也有罪犯、通姦者,他們也會佔人便宜以求得財富。然而,他們都被塑造成坦白、直率的個性。作者也會真實地設定多種第一人稱(只有兩個故事是第三人稱)非常有說服力地呈現故事中角色。這種鮮明的現實主義使得穆可吉能夠有說服力地探討各種移民議題、給讀者一窺不同個體在美國的生活。

 

Work Cited

Amend, Allison. “Bharati Mukherjee.” Asian-American Writers. Infobase Publishing, 2010. 24-35.

 

 

 

 

Bharati Mukherjee

 
 Short Biography

 Her Sense of Identity as a Writer

 Three Stages

   
 Short Biography: (from: http://www.umiacs.umd.edu/users/sawweb/sawnet/books_bios.html#bharati_mukherjee)
  Bharati Mukherjee won the National Book Critics' Circle Award for best fiction for The Middleman and other stories. Born in Calcutta, India, in 1940, she grew up in a wealthy traditional family. She studied in a Bengali-medium school for the first few years, and learnt English when she travelled with her family for three years in Europe at the age of eight. She attended the universities of Calcutta and Baroda, where she earned a master's degree in English and Ancient Indian Culture. She came to America in 1961 to attend the Writers Workshop and earned her master of fine arts and Ph.D. in English from theUniversity of Iowa. She married Canadian author Clark Blaise in 1963, immigrated to Canada in the mid-1960s and became a naturalized citizen in 1972. She was teaching English at McGill University in Montreal when she began writing fiction. After fourteen years in Canada, she found life as a "dark-skinned, non-European immigrant to Canada" very hard, so she moved with her husband to the  United States and took US citizenship. She has taught creative writing at Columbia University, New York University, and and Queens College, and is currently professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley. She has two sons. She can be reached c/o Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit Associates, 598 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022. Phone: (212) 421-1700.

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 Her Sense of identity as a writer
  I maintain that I am an American writer of Indian origin, not because I'm ashamed of my past, not because I'm betraying or distorting my past, but because my whole adult life has been lived here, and I write about the people who are immigrants going through the process of making a home here... I write in the tradition of immigrant experience rather than nostalgia and expatriation. That is very important. I am saying that the luxury of being a U.S. citizen for me is that can define myself in terms of things like my politics, my sexual orientation or my education. My affiliation with readers should be on the basis of what they want to read, not in terms of my ethnicity or my race. (Mukherjee qtd. in Basbanes; source: https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/postcolonialstudies/2014/06/11/mukherjee-bharati/)
 
. . .  I'd say I'm an American writer of Bengali-Indian origin. In other words, the writer/political activist in me is more obsessed with addressing the issues of minority discourse in the U.S. and Canada, the two countries I have lived and worked in over the last thirty odd years. The national mythology that my imagination is driven to create, through fiction, is that of the post-Vietnam United States. I experience, simultaneously, the pioneer's capacity to be shocked and surprised by the new culture, and the immigrant's willingness to de-form and re-form that culture. At this moment, my Calcutta childhood and adolescence offer me intriguing, incompletely-comprehended revelations about my hometown, my family, my place in that community: the kind of revelations that fuel the desire to write an autobiography rather than to mythologize an Indian national identity.  (source: http://152.1.96.5/jouvert/v1i1/bharat.htm)
 
. . . "Mine is a clear-eyed but definite love of America. I'm aware of the brutalities, the violances here, but in the long run my characters are survivors....I feel there are people born to be Americans. By American I mean an intensity of spirit and a quality desire. I feel American in a very fundamental way,whether Americans see me that way or not." (source: http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Park/9801/bharati.html)

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 Three Stages
  According to Fakrul Alam, her work can be divided into three Stages:
  1. her attempts to find her identity in her Indian heritage; e.g. Tiger's Daughter, Days and Nights in Calcutta;
  2. originate in Mukherjee's own experience of racism in Canada; e.g. Wife, Darkness, The Sorrow and the Terror
  3. immigrant experience; e.g.The Middle Man and Other Stories, Jasmine, The Holder of the World, Leave It to Me

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