Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
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Fiction, Identity, Place.
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The Dancing Policeman and Other Stories, a collection of short stories set in India and the United States, looks at ordinary people facing challenges in societies undergoing economic and social change.
Some have historical settings. In “Faithful Naren,” a young man learns the complex political realities of British rule in early 20th century Natihati, West Bengal, while in the same town in the 1960s, a teenager deals with injustice in “Sabotage.”
Others take place in a present where past practices persist. "Shit Gibbon" centers on a store clerk driven to gambling rather than sacrifice his son's future. In “Road to Gede,” a man who finds the dead body of a prostitute seeks help from the father who sold and disowned her.
As in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's The Unknown Errors of Our Lives, characters crossing cultural and national lines must face the expectations of family and society. In “Bloom,” an Indian student in Reno, Nevada learns lessons of empathy and how to face shame from a girl who would be considered unacceptable back home. The American-born Indian protagonist of “Rob, the Savior” returns to Natihati aiming to restore a temple his family has sponsored and confronts the worshippers’ belief in the religious ritual of animal sacrifice.
Whether struggling to survive in a changing home town or trying to learn the ways of a distant new one, the characters in The Dancing Policeman and Other Stories are compelled to explore the boundaries of what it means to be human.
Kanjilal, Satyaki, "The Dancing Policeman and Other Stories" (2019). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4036.
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