Issues of Nationalism and Ethnicity Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1161 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Military

Nationalism

You can't go home again, Yugoslavia" -- Natasha Radojcic's novel Homecoming

The title of Natasha Radojcic's novel Homecoming is bitterly ironic. On one hand, the main character Halid has been released from the army and thus can 'go home' to the land he has been fighting to free. He can reclaim the national identity he has been attempting to liberate from tyranny. Yet, rather than view this prospect with joy, home is "the last place in the world he wanted to see" after witnessing scenes of war, and bearing the scars of war upon his soul. Although he fought for his homeland, he has no desire to live there or return there, yet feels inexorably pulled, by the force of history, back to his childhood dwelling, just as the force of history pulled him to fight for the army. He has no way of getting a job anywhere else; all employment is barred to those who are not 'local.' He has not even been reading the letters written to him by his mother, because the letters bear only the drumbeat of death from his homeland, the death that eventually will come to him by the end of the novel.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Issues of Nationalism and Ethnicity Assignment

Halid is traumatized and confused because he does not want to return to a place that should bring him comfort. In fact, rather than seeing his mother, he instead avoids his childhood home, although he knows his mother loves him. Home has become a prison, in different ways, for both son and mother. Home, for author Radojcic, is impossible to replicate and to restore, despite the nationalist ideal that homecoming and a return to a state of pure, national, unity is possible. This is a historical lie, like the lie that war can be liberating or cleansing. But despite the fact that nationalism is a human construction, the fable that human beings have created about national identity is so power that people die over it. The lie has become so powerful, like custom, it is inescapable. The ideal of a national home and identity entraps Halid and causes his death and fighting for a nationalist cause provides him no comfort of return or sense of internal or external stability. Halid is confronted with the reality that he can never be the same man he was before the war, that he cannot 'go home' again, like the old cliche. And even if he could return to a land that was the same before the war, this would be empty -- reminders of the recent communist past and the failures of communism, another lie of commonly shared identity line the streets.

Halid's own personal past and childhood identity has become damaged, even if it ever was pure, by the wartime experience. He has lost his chance to have a family, he believes, and to find identity in yet another place and 'home.' His one hope is to marry his best friend's widow, but because Momir was a Christian, Momir's family hates Halid. Halid sees little chance to escape the fences between neighbors the war has created, and when he does finally return to see his mother her touch is almost wounding to him, rather than life-sustaining. He feels she cannot understand him because of the gulf between their experiences. He is called a hero upon arriving, but even though his side has won, he feels as if he has lost everything -- his family, his ability to love, his will to live,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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