Grotesque Realism in O.V Vijayan’s The Saga of Dharmapuri
The Saga of Dharmapuri by O.V. Vijayan is a dystopian fantasy set in the imaginary country of Dharmapuri, which could be a depiction of India or any other newly independent country in the post-colonial era. Mikhail Bakhtin in his treatise Rabelais and his World (1965) justifies the use of Grotesque Realism, a literary trope that allows the author to move away from the conventions of propriety and decency to convey messages that are real and powerful nevertheless. Usually exaggeration and hyperbole are key elements of this style. Through the centuries, literature has often been a medium through which contemporary concerns have been transmitted. This paper argues that O.V. Vijayan uses Grotesque Realism in his novel to depict the political, social and economic condition of India of the 1970s- specifically a country that was under emergency. Like all dystopian fables, The Saga of Dharmapuri has been prophetic in anticipating some of the social issues that we face even today. The paper aims at examining how Vijayan uses explicit language and scatological and sexual imagery so as to achieve this sense of realism within his novel.
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