The Exile in Literature : Remembering What Has Been Lost and Finding the Courage to Move Forward
Cultural displacement and exile are major topics that are portrayed in Caribbean literature and in this Master's thesis, I analyze the exilic experience as depicted in texts written by Julia Alvarez, Cristina García, and Ana Menéndez. By using various texts that focus on the Dominican and Cuban exilic experience, I depict how many fictional characters have had to or have chosen to leave their homes behind. In some instances, characters are described as being forced to flee to a surrounding country because they fear that they will be assassinated if they stay in their home country. In other circumstances, characters decide to leave their home country behind in order to gain political, social, and economic freedoms in a new country. By discussing various works by and about Dominicans and Cubans that have created new homes in the United States, I ultimately examine how exiles react when they are treated as the "Others" in a strange new land and are faced with questions of belonging. By using Edward Said's essay "Reflections on Exile" throughout this thesis, I expand upon his theories on the exilic experience and show how exiles struggle to fit in in America and how they have a hard time assimilating to American customs and traditions. Furthermore, many exiles are described as being overwhelmed because of language barriers and are also seen to experience feelings of loss and nostalgia. Some exiles long to go back to their home country, but other characters are seen to thrive in the United States because they embrace their new surroundings and take advantage of the opportunities that the U.S. has provided them with. Ultimately, no matter where the exile comes from, the emotions that are associated with the exilic experience are cross-cultural; the exile faces feelings of loss, nostalgia, alienation, despair, and loneliness and they struggle to understand who they are and where they belong.
Schindler, Kristen. (January 2014). The Exile in Literature : Remembering What Has Been Lost and Finding the Courage to Move Forward (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4394.)
Schindler, Kristen. The Exile in Literature : Remembering What Has Been Lost and Finding the Courage to Move Forward. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, January 2014. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4394. August 12, 2022.
Schindler, Kristen, “The Exile in Literature : Remembering What Has Been Lost and Finding the Courage to Move Forward” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, January 2014).
Schindler, Kristen. The Exile in Literature : Remembering What Has Been Lost and Finding the Courage to Move Forward [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; January 2014.
East Carolina University