Searching for an Environmental Identity: Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard (1996) by Kiran Desai


  • Carmen Escobedo de Tapia University of Oviedo



Globalisation, glocalisation, Indian literature in English, ecocriticism, intellectual transformation


This paper analyses Kiran Desai’s Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard (1996) from an ecocritical perspective, with the aim to highlight that contemporary Indian narratives in English still honour a conceptualisation of nature as a place in which one can find peaceful and spiritual solace and retreat. Moreover, Desai presents in this novel the themes of identity and alienation closely linked to the natural environment, which justifies an ecocritical reading of the novel in the light of concepts like “place,” “dwelling,” and “thinking” as explained by Heidegger (“Building Dwelling Thinking”). These become especially illustrated in the development of the main character, Sampath Chawla, who searches for his genuine identity in the midst of the hullabaloo caused by the clash between tradition and modernity, the local and the global in the postcolonial microcosm of Shahkot, a small northern Indian village. This analysis, therefore, proves how the aforementioned Heideggerian concepts become especially relevant when it comes to identifying what we think ("thinking”) and, most specifically, what we are (“being”) as related to the natural environment, which fully justifies an ecocritical lens.


Download data is not yet available.



Ashcroft, Bill. Post-Colonial Transformation. Routledge, 2011.
Buell, Lawrence. The Future of Environmental Ecocriticism. Blackwell, 2005.
Clark, Timothy. Ecocriticism on the Edge: The Anthropocene as a Threshold Concept. Bloomsbury, 2015.
Desai, Kiran. Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard. Faber & Faber, 1996.
Escobedo de Tapia, Carmen. “Re-reading Nature, Restoring Nature: The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai.” Losing Nature: Narratives of Forest and Water, edited by Zelia Bora and Murali Sivaramakrihsnan, Lexington Books, 2019. Forthcoming.
Fehskens, Erin M. “Desai’s Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard as Global Literature.” CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, vol. 15, no. 6, 2013, pp. 1‒10, Accessed 13 Mar. 2018.
Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. Routledge, 2012.
Heidegger, Martin. “Building Dwelling Thinking.” Basic Writings, edited by David Farrell Krell, Harper Collins, 1993, pp. 343‒64, Accessed 17 June 2017.
Huggan, Graham, and Helen Tiffin. Postcolonial Ecocriticism: Literature, Animals, Environment. Routledge, 2007.
Kavitharaj, K., and V. Umadevi. “The Writing Style in Kiran Desai’s Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard,” vol. 2, no. 7, 2014, pp. 10‒16, Accessed 20 Feb. 2018.
Kavitharaj, K., and V Umadevi. “Ecocritical Study of Kiran Desai’s Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard.” International Journal of English Language, Literature and Humanities, vol. 2, no. 6, Oct. 2014, Accessed 15 Dec. 2017.
Mukherjee, Upamanyu Pablo. Postcolonial Environments: Nature, Culture and the Contemporary Indian Novel in English. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
Narayan, R. K. The Guide. Penguin Classics, 2006.
Nichols, Ashton. Foreword. Beyond Romantic Ecocriticsm: Toward Urbanatural Roosting. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, p. xiii.
Sharma, Ritu. “Magic Realism in Kiran Desai’s Novel Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard.” International Journal of English and Literature, vol. 5, no. 3, 2014, pp. 79‒81. Academic Journals, doi10.5897/IJEL2014.0572. Accessed 4 Feb. 2018.
Singh, Vandana R. “Ruth Prawer Jhabvala: An Expatriate Eye and a Piercing Pen.” Indian Women Novelists, edited by Birendra Pandey, Sarup & Sons, 2001, pp. 26‒37.
Thomashow, Mitchell. “Toward a Cosmopolitan Bioregionalism.” Bioregionalism, edited by Michael Vincent McGinnis, Routledge, 1999, pp. 121‒32.




How to Cite

Escobedo de Tapia, C. “Searching for an Environmental Identity: Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard (1996) by Kiran Desai”. ES Review. Spanish Journal of English Studies, no. 39, Dec. 2018, pp. 173-92, doi:10.24197/ersjes.39.2018.173-192.