History influences and shapes the identities of people living in a diaspora. I will use James Clifford’s article “Diasporas,” to set up the stage for my two texts. Clifford’s perspective of diaspora “involves dwelling, maintaining communities, having collective homes away from home (and in this it is different from exile, with its frequently individualistic focus)” (308). Distinct to exile, people living within a diaspora look to the homeland not as a place they can never return to, but rather as a place they can maintain a connection with their new home. History and culture then become a source of connection within the diaspora. I will show how vital this connection is and how it becomes really important when away from the homeland to many of the characters.Junot Diaz and Zadie Smith, both use texts, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and White Teeth respectively, that are injected with history. I will show how history is like a shadow that is always with someone despite moments when people attempt to erase or ignore it. The paper will investigate how people living in a diaspora carry their history to the host country and how this history is inescapable because it makes them who they are. The paper will investigate how history influences the lives of people living away from the homeland and how their roots/routes are part of their fragmented identity—a merge of the native and new home. I will show how the texts embody the message that history is not restricted to the past, rather it propels the future.
In White Teeth Smith writes in the epigraph, “Past is Prologue,” meaning that what has occurred in the past foreshadows the future. I intend to use the text to prove how the past is truly prologue within the lives …
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Clifford, James. “Diasporas.” Cultural Anthropology 9.3 (1994): 302-38. Print.
Di?az, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. New York: Riverhead, 2007. Epub.
Lanzendorfer, Tim. “The Marvelous History of the Dominican Republic in Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the U.S. 38.2 (2013): 127-142. Project MUSE. Web.
Smith, Zadie. White Teeth: A Novel. New York: Random House, 2000. Epub.
Thomas, Matt. “Reading White Teeth to Improve Intercultural Communication.” Journal of Caribbean Literatures 6.1 (2009): 15-30. JSTOR. Web.