Patrick R. Mullen


Mary Loeffelholz, Nicole N. Aljoe

Date of Award


Date Accepted


Degree Grantor

Northeastern University

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department or Academic Unit

College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Department of English.


Anglophone, Education, Novel, Postcolonial


English Language and Literature | Literature in English, Anglophone outside British Isles and North America | Literature in English, British Isles | Modern Literature | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies


This dissertation examines representations of colonial education in V.S. Naipaul's The Enigma of Arrival, Amitav Ghosh's The Glass Palace, Julian Barnes' Arthur and George and Erna Brodber's Myal. It argues that these works historicize the dissemination of imperialist discourses at the colonial school and chart the adverse effects of colonial education on colonized subjects. Moreover, it suggests that these novels recast the histories of colonial education in narratives of fraught development in which protagonists assimilate colonialist ideologies at colonial schools and educational institutions in their childhood. The works chart their coming of age under imperialist rule by portraying them as supporters of Empire. The protagonists' unquestioning assimilation of colonialist discourses implicates them in perpetuating the colonizer's exploitative practices and violence over colonized subjects. The novels portray them as confronting crises in their personal and public lives. These crises compel them to question colonialist assumptions and their collusion with Empire. The novels chart the characters' attempts to overcome the ill effects of colonial education as they acquire self-awareness about their complicity with Empire. The novels thus link the crises with their complacent assimilation of colonialist ideologies thereby charting the harmful effects of colonial education.

Document Type


Rights Holder

Aparna Mujumdar