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Indian poet, novelist, critic, and autobiographer.
The following entry presents criticism of Alexander's career through Alexander is an Indian writer whose poetry and fiction reflect her mulicultural life experiences among diverse ethnic and religious communities on four continents. Generally concerned with the roles of place, memory, and language in identity formation, Alexander's works examine the disparate elements of her heritage and her cultural displacement, concentrating particularly on her status as an educated woman of the South Asian diaspora living and writing in the West.
Alexander's search for psychic wholeness through language—a prevalent theme of her poetry—also articulates the concerns facing many postcolonial writers silenced by the dominant literary traditions of the imperial past.
Critical discussion of her writings often centers on her contributions to Anglophone postcolonial literature, but scholars also have responded to her feminist perspective on literary and cultural issues.
She pursued graduate studies at the University of Nottingham in England, writing her dissertation on Romantic English literature which later evolved into The Poetic Self After earning a doctorate degree inAlexander returned to India and taught at several universities untilwhen she accepted a visiting fellowship at the Sorbonne in Paris.
During her return to India, she also published her first collections of poetry: Late in Alexander emigrated to the United States and settled in the New York City area, assuming an associate professorship at Fordham University.
While acclimating to American life, Alexander immersed herself in writing. By the late s she not only had contributed numerous scholarly articles to literary journals and feminist anthologies, but she also published the poetry collections House of a Thousand DoorsThe Stormand Night-Scene, the Garden as well as the critical study Women in Romanticism A lecturer in the writing program at Columbia University since and a professor of women's studies at City University of New York sinceAlexander produced more prose than poetry during the s, writing two novels, Nampally Road and Manhattan Music ; an autobiography, Fault Lines ; another volume of criticism, The Shock of Arrival ; and a single poetry book, River and Bridge Major Works Marked by processes of mediation between and meditation on different literary and cultural traditions, Alexander's imagistic and somewhat romantic poetry attempts to create a sense of identity for the poet and represents a type of psychoanalysis through which different aspects of her personality approach some sort of order.
Alexander's early poetry depends on, as often as it reveals, the interstices of memory, history, and ontology; for example, The Bird's Bright Ring juxtaposes images of blood, salt, and native flora and fauna with fragmented commentary on the sociopolitical effects of British rule in India.
Although Alexander's verse generally favors Indian themes and imagery, feminist issues comprise the majority of her work, including her scholarly studies, and female narrators and characters dominate both her poetry and fiction.
I Root My Name, for instance, intimates the painful experiences of women, while "A Mirror's Grace," a poem appearing in Without Place, recounts Cleopatra's struggle to resist slipping into the margins of patriarchal linguistics.
House of a Thousand Doors centers on memories and dreams of Alexander's grandmother, whom the poet has described as "a power permitting me to speak in an alien landscape.
In Night-Scene, the Garden, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters figure prominently in the narrator's memory, which symbolizes a kind of "mother tongue" that encourages the poet to create a "new" self. The poetry of River and Bridge explores similar personal and feminist themes, focusing primarily on coping with cultural displacement, but other poems address myriad forms of violence and protest bondage of all sorts, ranging from racial and sexual to economic and religious.
Like her poetry, Alexander's fiction carries autobiographical overtones. Centered on literature's relation to life and women's role as healer of communal ills, Nampally Road relates the story of a woman writer who returns to her native India following her college education abroad.
She plans to create literary order out of India's tumultuous past by writing a book about it, but instead she becomes involved in the resurgent political violence that surrounds her and reluctantly learns that she can do little to stop the suffering.
Set in contemporary New York, Manhattan Music traces a female immigrant's gradual recovery of her self-identity through a series of interracial, multicultural relationships and intellectual associations. Critical Reception Critics often have recognized Alexander's poetry for articulating some of the linguistic dilemmas confronting native writers of formerly British-administered colonies, noting that her imagery and formal structures, though reminiscent of European Romanticism and Modernism, are inflected by complex Indian rhythms, dense syntax, and South-Asian mythology.
Consequently, Alexander has engaged the attention of postcolonial literary scholars. Ben Downing has characterized her poetic work thus:Meena Alexander’s quest for a homeland in her memoir Fault Lines.
Meena Alexander, a South Asian immigrant writer, through her memoir Fault Lines, draws attention to the problems of multiple migrations and the sense of loss of homeland. Vol.7, No.3, May, Mathematical and Natural Sciences.
Study on Bilinear Scheme and Application to Three-dimensional Convective Equation (Itaru Hataue and Yosuke Matsuda). Meena Alexander, Fault Lines Step 2: Reading the Passage Steps to Write the Essay 1 Analyzing the essay prompt 2 Reading the passage 3 Preparing to write 4 Writing the essay 5 Sample student essays.
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Alexander uses various aspects of the language to represent herself, "a woman cracked by multiple migrations." The diction, imagery, and figurative terms that Alexander utilizes create a clear picture for the reader of a woman who is questioning her life and what might have been.