Luximan's The Missionary

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The Missionary recounts the tragic love story of a western missionary, Hilarion and an Indian priestess, Luxima during the days of British colonialism. Hilarion, a Franciscan monk, and a descendant of the Portuguese noble bloodwho resisted Spanish domination, lands in the south Indian state of Goa, as an Apostolic Nuncio of colonial India.EnthusiasticHilarion is instigated by an Indian pundit to convert Luxima, a high priestess from Cashmire (Kashmir, a north Indian state),into Christianity, so that the religion of thousands of her followers could be changed en masse.Luxima is a highly evolved soul, who as a young widow, instead of offering herself on the funeral pyre of her husband, has chosen to lead a spiritual and devotional life. The…show more content…
To a great extent, its identity derives from the enactment of the influence exerted by its major characters, namely Luxima and Hilarion, on one another. Critics like Rajanview Luximaas the representative of India, and comment that Owenson has portrayed her as a passive and languid character in order to make a negative statement of India’s effeminacy. The novel does not support this claim because closer examination of Luxima’s portrayal suggests that her character confers strength, rather than weakness to India, granting her creator a status above blame.The author has not only represented Luxima as the central character with agency and authority capable of interrogating the norms created by western discourses, but also as one who has the ability to deconstruct the role of the male and female, the east and west, the colonizer and colonized, and the rescuer and…show more content…
In some provinces of India a widow would burn herself at her will on the funeral pyre of her husband, mainly for spiritual reason of ascending to heaven. The practice was given a distorted picture of forced burning by many western travel writers, and Indian society was condemned for the brutal and irrational act, especially during colonial days. Owenson’s textdismantles the Orientalists’ discourse on sati by rendering it in a slightly different manner. First of all, Luxima is not a married wife of Hilarion for whom she is immolating herself. Secondly, it is not a forced sati(as described by orientalist scholars) at all--Luxima climbs the pyre of her lover voluntarily. Thirdly, she does not die because of burning but rather by the dagger of a colonial soldier.By deconstructing the system of sati,Owenson not only critiques the western [mis]representations of satiand tries to show the practice in a truer and better light by underscoring its real nature and religious or spiritual significance, but also grantsthe text a hybrid identity through the heroine’s act, which challenges the traditional practice while still engaged in

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