The Rise of Indian Americans’ Identity in Zitkala Sa’s “Impressions of an Indian Childhood” and Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies”

Kifah (Moh'd Khair) Al Omari, Hala Abdel Razzaq Jum'ah

Abstract


Abstract

The present paper scrutinizes the seismic shifts of the Indians' identity during the twentieth century. It tends to outline the Indians' collapsing image at the end of the century, taking Zitkala Sa's "Impressions of an Indian Childhood" and Jhumpa Lahiri's "Interpreter of Maladies" as sample stories to represent such shifts. Both Sa and Lahiri embody different aspects of the Indians’ identity in which the sense of originality, culture and spirituality changes. The paper dwells on the changes of these aspects from the beginning to the end of the twentieth century due to several factors such as World War I, World War II, and many other social and political developments during this century. The main argument, thus, is that the writings of the Natives transfer to depict their transitional period. To prove this argument, the researchers analyze the Natives’ distinctive identity, inspecting four distinguished components, originality, culture, spirituality, and struggle in Zitkala Sa’s story. The paper moves to contradict the Natives distinguished identity at the end of the twentieth century, taking Lahiri’s story as a sample for application. It ends by tracing the transitional break of the earlier identity’s components, emphasizing the aspects of imitation, destruction, and shallowness. These aspects make up the main thread of the Indians’ changing identity at the end of the century. By adopting this frame, the researchers consider the Indians’ identity to be one of the most important constitutive norms that changes and adjusts itself to suit many drastic developments that took place throughout the century.

 

 

 


Keywords


Voice; culture; Zitkala Sa; Jhumpa Lahiri; identity; shallowness.

Full Text:

PDF

References


References

Abdelal, Rawi, Yoshiko Herrera, Alastair Johnston, and Rose McDermott. (2005 ).“Identity as a

Variable.”

Abel, Anita. (2009 ).“Native American Identity Crisis in the 20th – Century United states”. In

Simon, Zottan (ed). First American Studies MA Student Conference. Debrecen: University

of Debrecen.

Borden, Morton and Otis L. Graham, Jr. (1978). The American Profile. 2nd edition . Lexington:

D.C . Heath and Company : University of California.

Canfield, leon and Howard Wilder. (1954). The Making of Modern America Cambridge:

Houghion Mifflin Company.

Gans, Herbert J. (1979 ). “Symbolic Ethnicity: The Future of Ethnic Groups and Cultures in

America.”Ethnic and Racial Studies 2:1.

Gottesman, Ronald. (1994). The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 4th Edition. Vol. 2.

New York: W. W. Norton & Company. 877-905.

Hirschfelder, Arlene. (2000). Native American: A History in Pictures. New York: Dorling.

Hoffman, Frederick J. (1965). The Twenties: American Writing in the post war Decade. New

York: Free Press.

Hurst, Mary J. (2011). language, Gender and Community in Late Twentieth-Century Fiction.

New York: ST. Martin’s Press.

Lahiri, Jhum pa. (1999 ). “ Interpreter of Maladies.” Houghion Mifflin Company.

Liebler, Carolyn. (1996). “American Indian Ethnic Identity: An Analysis of Tribal Specification

in the 1990 Census”. Madison: University of Wisconsin.

Pajer, Aliz. (2009). “The Effects of World War I in Earnest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises,

F.Scott Fitzgerald’s’ The Great Gatsby and Elmer Rice’s The Adding Machine. In Simon,

Zottan (ed). First American Studies MA Student Conference. Debrecen: University of

Debrecen.

Schildkraut, Deborah. (August 2007). “Defining American Identity in the Twenty-first Century:

How Much “There “ iS There?”. The Journal of politics, Tufts University. Vol.69, No 3,

pp. 597-675.

Smith, Maureen. (Fall 2001). “Forever changed: Boarding School Narratives of American Indian

Identity in the U.S and Canada”. Indigenous Nations Studies Journal, Vol.2.

Zitkala – Sa. (1921). “Impressions of an Indian Childhood.” Boston: The Hiberside Press.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.