Representations of 'home' and 'exile' in Breyten Breytenbach's Memory of snow and of dust.
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This mini-dissertation aims to examine the way in which Breyten Breytenbach explores the concepts of home and exile in his novel Memory of Snow and of Dust. The author captures and conveys the experience of exile, and envisages through the exile’s double vision a more complicated conception of home. Through the novel one is able to observe the exilic condition and gain access to new insights. The narrative structure comprises of various discourses and illustrates the restless nature of an unsettling and unstable existence. In the Introduction the theoretical framework for this study is outlined: recent developments in postcolonial and postmodern theories, Breytenbach’s oeuvre and literary criticism devoted to his work are discussed. Chapter One examines the distressing journey into a new awareness of what constitutes home. Chapter Two inspects the restless, yet regenerative condition of exile. Chapter Three considers a more fluid response to spatiality and the concept of home through an exploration of fresh perspectives that may emerge from extreme mental suffering. This study concludes with an affirmation of the relevance of Memory of Snow and of Dust, in times in which the overlapping boundaries of home and exile are becoming a global condition.