Reading home from exile: Narratives of belonging in Western literature
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Reading Home from Exile: Narratives of Belonging in Western Literature analyzes the way in which narratives of belonging arise from Western literary works that have been largely read as works of exile. This dissertation insists on the importance of the concept of home even in the light of much of the theoretical criticism produced in the last fifty years which turns to concepts that emphasize movement, rootlessness, homelessness, and difference. Through readings of Western literature spanning from canonical ancient Greek texts to Mexican novels of the revolution and to Chicano/a literature, this study shows that literature continues to dwell on the question of home and that much of the literature of exile is an attempt to narrate home. Beginning with a close reading of Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus, the first chapter discusses Oedipus's various moments of exile and the different spheres of belonging (biological/familial, social, political) that emerge through a close reading of these moments of exile. Chapter 2 examines these same categories of belonging in Mauricio Magdaleno's El resplandor, an indigenista novel set in post-revolutionary Mexico about the trials and tribulations of the Otomi town of San Andres. Chapter 3 continues to consider literature that takes Revolutionary and post-revolutionary Mexico as setting and analyzes the narratives of belonging that arise in Juan Rulfo's Pedro Páramo and Elena Garro's Recollections of Things to Come. Finally, Chapter 4 analyzes the emergence of these categories of home in Chicano/a literature and thought, focusing on Gloria Anzaldua's Borderlands/La Frontera and its relation to Homi Bhabha's concept of hybridity and to postcolonial theory in general.
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