Imaginary ‘Homeland’ and Constitution of a Collective Identity in Diasporic Experiences: An Analysis of The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan

Naeimeh Tabatabaei Lotf, Shideh Ahmadzadeh Heravi, Jalal Sokhanvar


In most contemporary memory narratives that deal with diasporic experiences, the concept of ‘home’ becomes a semiotic site, in which the fluctuating images of past are in a perpetual conflict to make sense. Absence of home generates a rich ground of creativity for migratory subjects to construct an imaginary homeland, based on their present contingent socio- cultural paradigms. Formulation of fluxing, disintegrated sets of imagery of native land would transcend the national geographical boundaries; thus, a new communal identity is constructed amongst migrant communities, which is fashioned by a universal, humane sense of belonging; generally, it is a diasporic individuality that is liberated from absolute national prejudices. In diasporic portrayal of remote homeland, unlike the exilic mystified or stigmatized presentation of precedent, ‘home’ is constructed by creative innovatory, progressive interaction of past, present and future to gratify the social and individual demands. Usually, diasporic picture of home is exposed to a conscious strategy of oblivion; whereas, in the case of exilic subjects, there is a rigidified image of homeland. This would intensify the proliferation of falsified, invented picturing of home, in migration genre. These pictures are the product of a confused sense of moral commitment to preserve national heritage and a desire to be part of the dominant host culture. The present essay seeks to explore the heterogeneous procedure of constitution of collective identity in Amy Tan’s The Hundred Secret Senses, based on the artistic representation of homeland. This fabricated pristine, identity defies the national borders and enjoys a certain amount of autonomy from established definitions of homeland, which are geographical- bound.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n14p385

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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