Bratati Barik has a BA and MA from the University of Burdwan. She is now pursuing a PhD at Visva Bharati University and works as an Assistant Professor in Vidyasagar College (Calcutta University), Calcutta, West Bengal, India. Her areas of interests include postcolonial studies, British post-fifties literature, ecocriticism, ecology, and posthumanism. E-mail: brototi.barik072@gmail.com


Blurring of Boundaries in Selected Short Stories of Tagore and Bao Ninh: A Posthumanist Perspective

Abstract: The aim of this research paper is to analyze how the short stories of Tagore and Bao Ninh exhibit subtle human-nature bonds. Human civilization has long ignored these bonds and it has often attempted to push them to the periphery, devaluating them by diminishing nature, along with its rich flora and fauna, as the “other.” From this anthropocentric perspective, nature retains some value only as long as it satisfies human needs. The study explores how Tagore’s short stories, “Hungry Stones” and “Chutti: The Homecoming,” highlight the significance of bringing flora, fauna, and the natural environment back into the domain of human existence. This differs from the destructive and authoritative representation of nature in Bao Ninh’s “A River’s Mystery.” In this work, the Vietnamese writer presents nature as a ferocious force that victimizes human beings. However, anthropocentrism is questioned in the three stories. This study uses content analysis to reveal the different ways in which human beings affect nature as well as the different ways in which nature affects human beings under varied circumstances and situations. The study also reveals how nature takes revenge and expresses its destructive authority over human beings irrespective of class, gender, or identity. In conclusion, the study shows that the actions, reactions, and responses of human beings to nature and vice-versa confirm the theoretical relevance of posthumanism, even if they do so in different ways with respect to the short stories of Tagore and Bao Ninh.
Keywords: posthumanism, speciesism, environment, anthropocentrism, boundary, Southeast Asia