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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Desiderio, the Alienated: A Post-Colonial Reading of Carter

When reading Carter's Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, the reader is immediately introduced with the narrator and protagonist and is given an immediate description of where he fits in with the world. That is, Desiderio is a character of whom Carter has taken the liberty to create with a complex nature that feels he does not fit in anywhere within the world because of race. As he discusses the illusions plaguing the citizens, he gives a quick but of insight into his ethnic background, "But as I often felt I was a half-breed ghost myself, I did not feel much concerned over that!" (Carter 19). The reader goes on to learn that Desiderio is a of mixed descent, have one Caucasian and Indian parent. Though the location of the Minister's prized city remains unnamed, the reader is given an indication that it is in some way British. Thus, the mystery behind the misguided narrator's lineage is explained, he is the product of British occupation over the country of India. Because of mixed background, he is able to slightly mesh both within the city and the river people; yet, he does not feel as if he belongs in either. His constant alienation from society, often displayed most by his dark skin tone and light eyes, accounts for his inability to relate to others and feel as if he is part of something greater. Rather, he simply does his best in attempts to assert some type of personal identity, yet fails because he is torn between two sides.

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