From the Object to the Embodiment of Alienation: The Predicament of the Protagonist in Arun Josh’s Novel, The Foreigner

Keywords: Loneliness, Protagonist, Anxiety, The Foreigner, Identity Crisis, Indian English Novel, Sindhi Oberai


Arun Joshi is an outstanding Indian English Novelist who has dealt with the inner crises of the modern man living in the present day world. The Foreigner (1968) is his novel that concerns itself with the human relations and its various aspects. The present paper deals with the Protagonist of the novel, Sindi Oberai. The whole story revolves around his feelings and experiences. The novel’s central thematic concerns are attachment, detachment, loss of faith, loneliness, identity crisis, and anxiety, all of which are artistically explored in the protagonist’s life. Oberai, the central character, comes back to Delhi, after experiencing life and love in America, and at last persuaded by a humble office worker in India.
Although the effects of alienation in Oberai’s life are analyzed by the earlier critics, the present paper attempts to trace the roots of that alienation. Most commonly children bloom in their childhood with tender care, support and guidance of their parents. The lack of parental love and the life of orphanage greatly affect one’s personality, and the paper argues that here lies the source of Oberai’s alienated life. As the title suggests explicitly, the paper claims that the protagonist starts his life as an object of alienation, but as he grows up, he himself becomes the embodiment of alienation, through the process of internalization, and some other characters in the novel have to face the bitter consequences of his alienated personality.
The protagonist Sindi Oberai is an orphan, who is deprived of the parental love. He is trapped in his own loneliness, and develops a kind of chronic detachment. The bitter experiences of his childhood and his environment in which he was brought up were internalized by him and eventually he becomes an unwitting embodiment of the alienation which devastated his childhood initially. Sindhi is deprived of family nourishment and becomes a wandering alien. He is exposed to various cultures of people but he is not attached to any of these cultures. The paper analyses the loss of parents’ true love and affection as the formative cause of Oberai’s alienated personality.

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How to Cite
Tulasi, M. (2021). From the Object to the Embodiment of Alienation: The Predicament of the Protagonist in Arun Josh’s Novel, The Foreigner. Shanlax International Journal of English, 9(2), 27-30.