From dislocation to redefinition of home in Nadine Gordimer’s the pickup and Ishtiyaq Shukri’s the Silent Minaret : a postcolonial perspective of home.
Jo Every, Monique Simone.
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This study aims to investigate new understandings of ‘home’ as represented through the experiences of the migrant characters in Nadine Gordimer’s The Pickup and Ishtiyaq Shukri’s The Silent Minaret. I am interested in the connection between ‘home’ understood as a physical place of habitation and the novels’ portrayal of the migrant experience of border crossing. Migration is often traumatic and can result in feelings of alienation and emotional disconnectedness, experiences which are well documented within postcolonial literary studies. This study explores the complexity of emotional disconnectedness, whether during migration, or even before migration, in the characters’ home countries. Furthermore, there is the suggestion that the experience of emotional dislocation is an inescapable feature of modern society, characterised as it is by increased geographical and social movement. Finally, this study considers whether there is a typical trajectory that these characters follow once they have left home or have become otherwise displaced. How do they experience the liminal space and the emotional dislocation it involves? How does living on the boundaries of society affect their ability meaningfully to interact with the world around them? In both novels under scrutiny, there are some characters who grow out of emotional isolation and appear able to redefine their sense of home and belonging, while other characters remain unhomed, either by choice or as a result of external conditions imposed upon them. By analysing the experiences of these fictional characters from a postcolonial perspective, this study contributes towards the creation of a more encompassing definition of home and what it means to belong.