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2013 | 3 | 4-11

Article title

An Interplay of Loss and Hope: Analyzing Diaspora Consciousness in Arnold Zable’s "Café Scheherazade"


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Diaspora is a term often used today to describe practically any population which is considered “deterritorialised” or “translational” – that is, which has originated in a land other than which it currently resides, and whose social, economic, and political networks cross the borders of nation states or span the globe. However the connotation of “diaspora” goes back in time and is a concept that referred almost exclusively to the experiences of the Jews, invoking their traumatic exile from an historical homeland and dispersal through many lands. The connotation of a “diaspora” situation was thus negative as they were associated with forced displacement, victimisation, alienation and loss. Along with this archetype went a dream of return. Nonetheless, not all forced migration suffered in loss and despair. This paper explores the new age concept of “diaspora consciousness” that according to James Clifford lives loss and hope as a defining tension in Arnold Zable’s "Café Scheherazade". The paper aims to portray the interplay of loss and hope in the lives of Jewish war stricken asylum seekers who, having migrated to Melbourne, a city alien to them, suffer both a longing for the past and a flickering hope of survival within the Jewish diaspora community, preserving the language and culture of their lot. The constant tussle between assimilating oneself within the foreign culture and feelings of displacement and haunting memories of the past that refrained one from absorption and acculturation is foregrounded in the research.






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