Representation of fractured identity issues is a thematic element powerfully present in the work of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Although identity is a commonly explored theme in general, it is through fragmentation in her novels that struggles are often identified and trauma is illustrated. Complex, fragmenting experiences of persons living in the Indian diaspora are frequently present in novels by Divakaruni along with continual employment of fracturing in terms of structure, imagery, plot, language, and character. In order to illustrate the presence of fracturization in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's literature, in this thesis I do an extensive textual examination of her first full-length novel, The Mistress of Spices (1999). In the analysis, I present multiple instances of fracturing including structurally and thematically. I also closely examine the condition of fractured identity in the diasporic characters from India specifically represented in the novel. Furthermore, I focus on the gendered representations of fracturization in the novel and the various levels of success in terms of how they encounter and maneuver fragmentation. By performing a thorough analysis of The Mistress of Spices, I illustrate that multiple elements of the structure, characters, and plot within the novel are indicative of fracturization and fractured identity. The negotiation of fracturization becomes relevant, especially in terms of the ways that Divakaruni challenges gender-based assumptions of success. Furthermore, in studying fractured identity as a result of diaspora specifically present in Divakaruni's novel featuring an Indian-American female protagonist, I assert that by successfully processing fractured identity issues, the women in the story are ultimately empowered.


Melissa Purdue

Committee Member

Kristi Cole

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)




Arts and Humanities

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


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