chapter  6
35 Pages

Cosmopolitanism and Communion: Renegotiating Relations in Sara Suleri’s Meatless Days

WithMia Carter

When used in regard to "Third World" or minority writers, the term cosmopolitan accrues levels of signification that reveal all sorts of contradictory feelings about such writers' "worldliness"; these mixed feelings are sometimes particularly vexed when the worldly writer is a woman. Sara Suleri's Meatless Days defies generic description and confuses strictly defined First and Third World literatures' aesthetic categorization. The author's tri-cultural influences (Pakistan, England, and the United States) and the text's hybrid nature cause both to appear like preceding eras' cosmopolitanisms; however, both style and voice are used subversively in Meatless Days. Meatless Days achieve this kind of critically self-conscious expression; its textual praxis puts particular emphasis on the scriptural presentation of the self, one informed by deconstructive theories of language. The power of Meatless Days emanates from Sara Suleri's ability to articulate the instructive yet painful forms of knowledge that loss, trauma, and political and personal disappointment impress upon the postcolonial subject.