Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, Facultatea de Litere și Arte; Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Letters and Arts
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“These Things Don’t Go Away”: Jeffrey Eugenides’s “Fresh Complaint” – a Postcolonial Reading
Following a six year publishing break in the aftermath of his novel The Marriage Plot that appeared in 2011, the story collection Fresh Complaint was published in 2017 and contains ten stories focusing on Jeffrey Eugenides’ core topics of interest: the impossibility of coherent identity construction, personal and social loneliness and isolation, and the frailness and ephemerality of human connections. “Fresh Complaint”, the story that gives the collection its title, offers a postcolonial image of twenty-first century America, India and England, while keeping with the theme dearest to Eugenides’ heart: the gasping void that fills all human interaction and communication. The story masterfully thematizes one of postcolonialism’s central concerns, the one of the generational and cultural gap between first and second generation immigrants. The present paper’s attempt is to offer a postcolonial reading of Eugenides’ text, while also placing it in relation to his previous writings and main thematic concerns.
Keywords: Jeffrey Eugenides, “Fresh Complaint”, postcolonial, identity, colonialism, white guilt, first- and second-generation immigrants
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