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Document Type

Article

Academic Discipline

English

Abstract

This article addresses the issues of cultural theory and representation that arise in Rudyard Kipling and Wolcott Balestier’s 1892 novel The Naulahka: A Story of West and East. Kipling and Balestier’s novel highlights cultural differences between America and India, and in doing so raises controversial points on acceptance and understanding (or lack thereof). Framed through the theme of service travel, the novel’s characters navigate a new life riddled with culture shock in an attempt to find their own version of cultural compassion. Additionally, this article will reference the cultural theories of Stuart Hall to help understand representation of Indians in the text. In particular, Hall’s encoding/decoding model argues for the subjectivity of cultural understanding in that interpretation of representation varies between individuals; therefore, the intentions of the authors might not be as clear as they seem. Thus the following questions arise: Does The Naulahka serve as an educational, informative discourse on the topic of cultural representation? Or is it just plain offensive?

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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