M Rajendra Pandian
The paper seeks to study the tragic element that permeates Eugene O’Neill’s play Desire under the Elms and the contemporary Tamil writer Sundara Ramaswamy’s novel Story of a Tamarind Tree. It identifies the spirit of tragedy, blatant or subtle, as the point of similarity between these works even though the two literary sensations are different by genre as well as milieu. As we may categorize the play as modern tragedy, in which the main characters are not elevated in social status but ordinary people whose predicamental journey ends up in catastrophic loss of lives or hope, it is more precisely recognized as American Tragedy in which what is at the core is family alongside its grey shades of complex human relationships. Whereas, Ramaswamy’s novel that quaintly fits into a category analogous to Hardyan tragedies portrays the death and disappearance, or, murder and extermination of a tamarind tree. The tamarind that once occupied the central place of a rustic and then an urban life in a given area eventually falls victim of differences, rivalries, and divides that have been plaguing India before and after independence.
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