The Freudian Otherness/Unhomeliness in Asian- Canadian Narratives
Keywords:unhomely, Freudian otherness, Asian-Canadian diasporas
The present paper deals with the (im)possibilities of belonging within the melancholic Asian-Canadian narratives written by Joy Kogawa, Gurjinder Basran and Hiromi Goto. As is argued by Homi Bhabha, “[T]he ‘unhomely’ does provide a ‘non-continuist’ problematic that dramatizes–in the figure of woman–the ambivalent structure of the civil State as it draws its rather paradoxical boundary between the private and the public spheres. […], for Freud, the unheimlich is ‘the name for everything that ought to have remained […] secret and hidden but has come to light’” [1:10]. Between the “unheimlich” of Freud and the “unhomely” of Bhabha lies the ambivalent in-betweenness of Asian-Canadian minorities whose sense of relocation of the home justifies their “unhomeliness” as diasporic identities. In her special way, Goto explains this point through the female character of Naoe, in Chorus of Mushrooms, as follows: “You cannot move to a foreign land and call that place home because you parrot the words around you. Find your home inside yourself first, I say. Let your home words grow out from the inside, not the outside in” [2:48].
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