Pakistan’s Cultural Complexity in Contemporary Times

The Wish Maker (2009) by Ali Sethi


  • Rabia Aamir Assistant Professor, Department of English, NUML, Islamabad


Hybridity, Post 9/11, Orientalism, New historicism, Anglophonic literature


The identity issues experienced in a post 9/11 novel by Ali Sethi
have a slightly different complexion from most of the contemporary
novels focusing on these themes.i A great many, (mostly Pakistani
novels) addressing these issues are set against the American
background, while only some, take up this issue of identity and
impact of 9/11 against the ethnic backdrop of Pakistan; a setting of
The Wish Maker (2009), in which some important facets of
Pakistani society/ psyche are explored. Disregarding the
disparaging connotationsii of considering Edward Said, Gayatri
Spivak, and Homi K Bhabha as the “Holy Trinity,” Robert Young
observes that though there are many things overlapping in their
theories as both Spivak and Bhabha have drawn from Said’s
Orientalism, yet they cannot be taken as similar. Said, in turn is
influenced by Michel Foucault’s New Historicism.iii The text of the
novel under study helps invoking selective features of Foucauldian
New Historicism with special emphasis on the factors contributing
for hegemony and aspects of Bhabha’s hybridity theory, which may
be seen as some of the dominant concerns of the present century’s
global and Anglophonic literature. Thus, engaging with these
theoretical perspectives, this paper offers cloze reading of this
novel to study some of the features of Pakistan’s cultural
complexity in the present millennium.