Wanderers in the spaces of their memories and the streets of their would-be homes, generations of suffering immigrants are traced back to the past, propelled by the crescendo of melancholic stillness that moves displaced bodies through states of in-betweenness that both dispels and teeters on the far side of either assimilation or exclusion. Many transnational narratives situate the immigrant at a crossroads in terms of a loss of the ‘original’ culture in exchange for the new ‘American’ culture, where national diversities are confined to a singular framework and rhetoric of displacement, overruled by the myth of successful assimilation, whereby the hardships of adjusting to foreign spaces are ‘normalized’ and reduced to a series of trials. This portrayal, in turn, does not leave any room for the rhetoric of pain, or what I label as the ‘migrant’s mourning’, where the immigrant’s suffering is suppressed and eclipsed by a collective history of racial abjection. Insights into the psyche of the immigrant serve to map the hedge between the past and the present and absolute versus relative spaces. Applying psychoanalytical and postcolonial frameworks to literary analysis, this dissertation explores some of the prominent transnational narratives to establish that the melancholic dynamics of space, memory, and language can subvert misrepresentations and grant the immigrant mobility within the confines of homogenized spaces. It seeks to explore the ways in which the transnational American narrative employs melancholic tenor as aesthetics to empower displaced figures. Situating its protagonists at the locus of nations, these narratives underscore melancholia, mourning, and memory as tools and protocols of agency that challenge the myth of assimilation and re-think the rhetoric of displacement.
|Commitee:||Gopinath, Praseeda, Heywood, Leslie, Youssef, Mary|
|School:||State University of New York at Binghamton|
|Department:||English, General Literature, and Rhetoric|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Assimilation, Displacement, Immigrants, Melancholia, Migrant's mourning, Mourning|
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