"Why all this mythicism?": transgression in St. Suniti and the Dragon
Suniti Namjoshi’s short work “St. Suniti and the Dragon,” found in the author’s fabulist collection of the same name, is a formally amorphous text that alternates among allusion and alteration of Western canonical myth. The story, in which the journey of the aspiring hero St. Suniti is detailed, alludes primarily to Beowulf and the legend of “St. George and the Dragon” in a manner similar to, but expansive upon, the feminist revisionist project of the last few decades. While Namjoshi navigates feminist politics, she also examines the postmodern impulse to consider identity as subjective experience. In so doing, she deconstructs notions of canonical character archetypes while suggesting that identity politics must involve a multiplicity of archetypes – that is, the self is seldom archetypal in the singular, but rather an amorphous and discontinuous series of mythic archetypes. Thus, the form of Namjoshi’s text – generically ambiguous and varied – mimics the author’s suggestion for the composition of identity. The result is a story that transgresses prescribed social conventions and archetypes while simultaneously invoking their mythic sources as means of argumentation.
postmodern literature, feminism, mythicism, identity politics
Master of Arts (M.A.)