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Riddles of BelongingIndia in Translation and Other Tales of Possession$
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Christi A. Merrill

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823229550

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823229550.001.0001

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(p.105) Three: Framed
Riddles of Belonging

Christi A. Merrill

Fordham University Press

Here the paradoxical temporalities of Narayana Rao's riddling community referred to in the opening chapter assume a metaphorical locatedness in riddling framed narratives that Eagleton describes as a “semiotic puzzle”: such repetitions create a space for themselves that seems both very much their own world, he observes, and yet intimately connected to the world outside. To judge the effect of a story such as that of the switched heads requires we first set about solving this semiotic puzzle. Bakhtin insists that festive laughter “is not an individual reaction to some isolated ‘comic’ event,” but is instead “the laughter of all the people.” In a move that resonates with the logic of the riddle of belonging, Bakhtin posits an individual speaker whose words are “actually a cry, that is, a loud interjection in the midst of a crowd, coming out of the crowd and addressed to it.” This joyous expression of resistance requires us to think carefully about the ways we are defining a “you” in relation to a first-person subject position.

Keywords:   Eagleton, semiotic puzzle, belonging, riddle, Narayana Rao, riddling

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