The Algebra of Anger.

Social Oppression and Queer Intersectionality in Funny Boy and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

  • Giuseppe De Riso University of Naples L’Orientale
Keywords: class discrimination, ethnic conflict, negative solidarity, paranoia, queer intersectionality


This article compares Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy (1994) with Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017) in order to describe the processes of discrimination against queer people within a strained social fabric marked by familial, ethnic, and class oppressions. Through Pankaj Mishra’s theory of anger in capitalist societies, Hannah Arendt’s concept of negative solidarity, and Kimberlé Crenshaw’s notion of queer intersectionality, this paper examines how the two novels situate their queer characters’ quest for sexual identity and self-affirmation against the backdrop of the neoliberal expansion of the Indian subcontinent at the turn of the 20th century into the present. Such process increased social inequalities, exacerbated class tensions, and pre-existing ethno-religious conflicts, producing interlocking systems of repression in which queer subjectivities face various forms of physical and psychological discrimination, as existential anger and the threat of violence either force them to painful separations or to rebuild new social relationships.    

Author Biography

Giuseppe De Riso, University of Naples L’Orientale

Giuseppe De Riso is a researcher in English Literature at the University of Naples “L’Orientale”, where he also earned his Ph.D. in Cultural and Postcolonial Studies of the Anglophone World. He has published two books: Affect and the Performative Dimension of Fear in the Indian English Novel: Tumults of the Imagination (Cambridge Scholars, 2018), and Affective Maps and Bio-mediated Bodies in Tridimensional Videogames of the Anglophone World (Tangram Edizioni Scientifiche, 2013). Additionally, he has written various treatises on postcolonial literature and digital media. He is currently researching on English Post/Metamodernism, the processes of transmedia convergence and contamination in literature, as well as ethnic-religious and gender issues in the Anglo-Indian novel, especially in the literary production of Salman Rushdie.