Work and utopia in the fiction of Martin Wickramasinghe and James Goonewardene

2017-03-03T01:58:01Z (GMT) by Senanayake, Chathurika Jeevani
This thesis analyses the relationship between work and utopia in a twofold manner: how fulfilment is achieved through work in a material sense and how happiness is attained in a spiritual sense as a result of the comparative absence of work. The city-village binary is a prominent factor here as the city is generally associated with the first kind of utopia while the village is associated with the latter. My focus is the Sri Lankan Sinhala Buddhist context and the primary texts under analysis are selected Sinhala novels of Martin Wickramasinghe and selected English fiction of James Goonewardene. Theories of the pastoral, Arcadia, utopia, the tourist gaze and works of postcolonial theorists such as Lyman Tower Sargent and Edward Said form the theoretical basis of this study. The two novelists under investigation are from different cultural and social backgrounds and have written in different languages. Such differences in subject position have affected their vision of utopia in relation to work and this disparity is expressed in their writing. The changing social, economic and political situation of Sri Lanka in which they wrote and which they depicted, in its development from a British colony to an independent nation, has also had a great impact on the vision of these authors. The changing social order from a feudal agrarian society in the village to a capitalist work system in the city is discussed in this thesis in relation to its depiction in the fiction of these authors. The portrayal of the feminist movement in Sri Lanka and its impact on the place of women in relation to work and utopia in these novels, too, is analysed in this study.