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2015 | 63 | 11: Anglica | 235-244

Article title

On geographical and metaphorical (fault) lines: Immigration, acculturation and generation gap in South Asian American women’s fiction


Title variants

O liniach geograficznych i metaforycznych – imigracja, akulturacja i luka generacyjna w twórczości pisarek hindusko-amerykańskich

Languages of publication



In numerous immigrant narratives by South Asian American women writers, the process of immigration is construed as the crossing of a line, or of several lines, to be more specific. The act of crossing the geographical line of the border precedes the crossing of more metaphorical boundaries, for example those between the two cultural scenarios operative in the writers’ native and adopted cultures. In the process, yet another metaphorical line is drawn between first- and second-generation immigrants, two groups that inevitably experience immigration in two completely divergent ways. The purpose of this article is to discuss several literary texts based on the construction of a literal or metaphorical line written by first- and second-generation South Asian American women writers (namely, Meena Alexander, Bharati Mukherjee, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Jhumpa Lahiri) to map the different standpoints from which first- and second-generation writers explore the issue of migration. This analysis will be situated in the context of what Meena Alexander, a first-generation South Asian American poet and novelist, terms “fault lines” when she writes in her memoir: “In Manhattan, I am a fissured thing, a body crossed by fault lines” (Fault Lines 182). The concept of the geological fault line serves as a powerful metaphor for the fractures and discontinuities inherent in the process of immigration that will be discussed in this article.
Wiele tekstów autorstwa pisarek pochodzenia hindusko-amerykańskiego poświęconych procesowi imigracji odwołuje się do metafory linii, zastosowanej nie tylko do zilustrowania faktu przekroczenia geograficznej granicy państwa, ale także różnicy między dwoma kulturowymi skryptami obowiązującymi w kraju ojczystym i docelowym czy też konfliktu między pokoleniami imigrantów, których doświadczenia imigracji są z natury zupełnie inne. Niniejszy artykuł stanowi analizę kilku tekstów literackich opartych na konstrukcji literalnej lub metaforycznej linii autorstwa pisarek hindusko-amerykańskich pierwszego i drugiego pokolenia (takich jak Meena Alexander, Bharati Mukherjee, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni i Jhumpa Lahiri) w celu ukazania odmiennego spojrzenia pisarek pierwszego i drugiego pokolenia na doświadczenie emigracji. Ta analiza usytuowana jest w kontekście pojęcia uskoku tektonicznego (ang. fault line), używanego przez Meenę Alexander, poetkę i pisarkę pierwszego pokolenia. Pojęcie uskoku tektonicznego jawi się jako metafora pęknięć i nieciągłości nieodzownie związanych z procesem migracji dyskutowanym w niniejszym artykule.







Physical description


  • Department of American Literature and Culture, Maria Curie Skłodowska University, Lublin


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  • Alexander, Meena. Manhattan Music. San Francisco: Mercury House, 1997.
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Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

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