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postgraduate thesis: The displaced person: re-placement and returnin contemporary representations of exile

TitleThe displaced person: re-placement and returnin contemporary representations of exile
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Richards, PK
Issue Date2012
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Hui, Y. C. [許逸仙]. (2012). The displaced person : re-placement and return in contemporary representations of exile. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5090007
AbstractThis thesis examines the workings of “home” for the displaced individual in contemporary contexts: whether a counterpoint for disorientation arising from displacement, for example, or an attempt to assert control in the very process of identity negotiation across geographical distances, “home” in the novels of White Teeth by Zadie Smith and Ignorance by Milan Kundera, especially, offer an important study of the quest for home through an unexpected anchor of exile. The signifier of ultimate security and belonging in pre-modern eras, God has been destabilized in the post-war, contemporary context. “Home,” like the notional God, that is, has been destabilized by social forces of the diaspora, where “home,” in addition to the physical native place of birth or permanent place of shelter, can take on forms of imaginary exile/unbelonging within the same place without physical estrangement; as Martin Heidegger recognizes home can paradoxically be constituted as a form of control, namely from the inside out: from the existential feeling of “not being at home.” Samad, Irena and Josef of White Teeth and Ignorance, respectively, are analyzed on their alternative quests for control of identity. Replacing the trace of God with a trace now of “home,” Samad, Irena and Josef face limitless freedom outside their native and geographic contexts, which entails at the same time a sense of disorientation. They feel compelled to achieve meaningful identity based on a left-over notion of “home,” or, in the converse, to utilize what they control as “home” to avoid at least self-annihilation. This thesis contends in the contemporary narratives studied that there is a tendency for the individual to avoid estrangement or perceived unnatural “provisional” separations from the idea of “home”; and, second, therefore to seek to control of identity formation in the name of seeking “home.” Such control is desired by reflex of aversion to estrangement, which can be felt with the liberation from God or the distances from the geographies or assumptions of “home.” This thesis will expound, therefore, upon the stages of estrangement through, first, an initial and tentative placement of “home”; then, displacement through physical departure; exile revisited; attempts at re-placement along a nostalgic trace of belonging toward a “home” in the identity negotiation; and the “returnability” of the displaced person to adopt a native “home” after prolonged absence. In conclusion, considering the placement of the self somewhere, in order to gain control over identity inside an environment of dis-placement; in physical and updated “exile” away from place of birth; or even in the form of tragic imagination to be discussed, a trace of “home” (like an absent “god” in Waiting for Godot, for example) cannot be relinquished altogether as a point of reference for reinvention of identity while it can still be reinvented and updated at the same time. However, even this trace remains an illusion of the displaced person, reflecting an ache for certainty of roots as a point of reference for identity formation, rather than a route, running backwards or forwards, towards a feasible alternative “home.”
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectDisplacement (Psychology) in literature.
Dept/ProgramEnglish
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/192862

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorRichards, PK-
dc.contributor.authorHui, Yat-sin, Cindy.-
dc.contributor.author許逸仙.-
dc.date.accessioned2013-11-24T02:01:16Z-
dc.date.available2013-11-24T02:01:16Z-
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.identifier.citationHui, Y. C. [許逸仙]. (2012). The displaced person : re-placement and return in contemporary representations of exile. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5090007-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/192862-
dc.description.abstractThis thesis examines the workings of “home” for the displaced individual in contemporary contexts: whether a counterpoint for disorientation arising from displacement, for example, or an attempt to assert control in the very process of identity negotiation across geographical distances, “home” in the novels of White Teeth by Zadie Smith and Ignorance by Milan Kundera, especially, offer an important study of the quest for home through an unexpected anchor of exile. The signifier of ultimate security and belonging in pre-modern eras, God has been destabilized in the post-war, contemporary context. “Home,” like the notional God, that is, has been destabilized by social forces of the diaspora, where “home,” in addition to the physical native place of birth or permanent place of shelter, can take on forms of imaginary exile/unbelonging within the same place without physical estrangement; as Martin Heidegger recognizes home can paradoxically be constituted as a form of control, namely from the inside out: from the existential feeling of “not being at home.” Samad, Irena and Josef of White Teeth and Ignorance, respectively, are analyzed on their alternative quests for control of identity. Replacing the trace of God with a trace now of “home,” Samad, Irena and Josef face limitless freedom outside their native and geographic contexts, which entails at the same time a sense of disorientation. They feel compelled to achieve meaningful identity based on a left-over notion of “home,” or, in the converse, to utilize what they control as “home” to avoid at least self-annihilation. This thesis contends in the contemporary narratives studied that there is a tendency for the individual to avoid estrangement or perceived unnatural “provisional” separations from the idea of “home”; and, second, therefore to seek to control of identity formation in the name of seeking “home.” Such control is desired by reflex of aversion to estrangement, which can be felt with the liberation from God or the distances from the geographies or assumptions of “home.” This thesis will expound, therefore, upon the stages of estrangement through, first, an initial and tentative placement of “home”; then, displacement through physical departure; exile revisited; attempts at re-placement along a nostalgic trace of belonging toward a “home” in the identity negotiation; and the “returnability” of the displaced person to adopt a native “home” after prolonged absence. In conclusion, considering the placement of the self somewhere, in order to gain control over identity inside an environment of dis-placement; in physical and updated “exile” away from place of birth; or even in the form of tragic imagination to be discussed, a trace of “home” (like an absent “god” in Waiting for Godot, for example) cannot be relinquished altogether as a point of reference for reinvention of identity while it can still be reinvented and updated at the same time. However, even this trace remains an illusion of the displaced person, reflecting an ache for certainty of roots as a point of reference for identity formation, rather than a route, running backwards or forwards, towards a feasible alternative “home.”-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B50900079-
dc.subject.lcshDisplacement (Psychology) in literature.-
dc.titleThe displaced person: re-placement and returnin contemporary representations of exile-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5090007-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEnglish-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5090007-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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