Publication Date

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Rosemary Johnsen, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Christopher T. White, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Terri Pantuso, Ed.D.


Mulk Raj Anand is an innovator in literature. He is one of the first Indian authors to write in English about the humanitarian dilemmas facing India during the mid-twentieth century. His compassionate objective is to produce an awareness of the cruelty and inhumane practices of untouchability and social class distinctions and to seek the enlightening prospects of progress and modernity. In his three novels Coolie, Two Leaves and a Bud, and Untouchable, Anand explores the lives of of the down-trodden. The first chapter of this project defines and discusses the Hindu caste system of India as well as its unfavorable and negative consequences. It also addresses the damaging effects and repercussions of the differentiation of social classes based on wealth and assets. Anand abhors these status structures so completely for their inhumane and cruel results that he sought to eliminate them completely with the hope of making it possible for all Indians to have a chance for equality. The second chapter addresses the rebuilding and reformation of human respectability by taking a down-trodden character and employing him as the hero of the work. Anand is one of the first Indian authors to utilize a societal outcast as his protagonist. The third chapter discusses the clash between traditional and contemporary thoughts and behaviors. Though Anand was educated through the British system of schools, he is aware of the impact Indian traditions had on contemporary Indian life. It is Anand’s intention to expose the faults and detrimental aspects of the decomposing Indian ways rather than to maintain and defend the greater fundamental aspects of it. With the implementation of modern ways of thinking, Anand seeks a better world for all of humanity, particularly the residents of India.