The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss: A Struggle with Cultural Identity College

Throughout Karen Desai’s novel, The Inheritance of Loss, the Judge’s westernization and Indian resentment amplify during his studies in England despite confronting both internal and external facets of racism. In postcolonial India, the English were perceived to be highly educated and wealthy which appealed to young adults struggling with their placement in the caste system. This was the case for the Judge, who excelled at school and was able to study abroad in England. While fueling his ego, his travels further perpetuates his longing to be superior, to be English. This double consciousness drives him away from his family and alienates him from the English – creating friction with his sense belonging.

The Judge’s animosity toward his own cultural identity stems long before his life in England. The Judge’s bitterness toward his father, “…a barely educated man,” (42) left him feeling defeated by the caste system. There was no possibility for mobility but a Western education could inflate his importance and reputation. The Judge realizes that the more Western he appears the better he would be treated; thusly, cheating the effects of the caste system. The Judge’s newly romanticized thoughts on England gives him hope and allows him...

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