Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fragmentation in a Broken Plane

“Also- for there had been more than a few migrants aboard, yes, quite a quantity of wives who had been grilled by reasonable, doing-their-job officials about length of and distinguishing moles upon their husbands’ genitalia, a sufficiency of children upon whose legitimacy the British Government had cast it ever reasonable doubt- mingling with the remnants of the plane, equally fragmented, equally absurd, there floated the debris of the soul, broken memories, sloughed-off selves, severed mother-tongues, violated privacies, untranslatable jokes, extinguished futures, lost loves, the forgotten hollow, booming words, land, belonging, home.” (Rushdie 4-5)
Looking at this quote Rushdie shows the effects of immigration with the use of “fragmented”, “broken”, and “severed”, among other words that show a partiality or incompleteness. Rushdie shows that immigration has a dire effect upon those people who are looking to make a move from their homeland to a land unknown.
The key word that stands out to me is “fragmentation”. By making the choice to immigrate a person takes a chance of themselves. They leave family, friends, comfort and safety. These loses are major tools that make up who an individual is. As we have discussed in class on numerous occasions, individuals are able to identify themselves through their interaction and relations with others. When some is an immigrant they no longer have those relationships or interactions, they are merely just a person in a space. They lose who they are and become the other to themselves. In addition to dealing with these loses they face mounting tension from those who view them as the other. Rushdie states that “quantity of wives who had been grilled by reasonable, doing-their-job officials about length and distinguishing moles on their husbands’ genitalia” which is a clear discrimination and ostracizing to those women. In Rushdie’s comedic nature he states that the officials doing this were “reasonable” individuals that were “just doing their job”, which is clearly sarcastic on Rushdie’s behalf. The act of immigration is a great feat on behalf of the individual making the decision to move and the pressure that individual has to deal with is also a huge concern in itself. Rushdie is aware of that and shows it through this quote.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that immigration causes a loss of cultural identity for the immigrant, as well as their othering by those in the place to which they are immigrating. However, you almost seem to separate the two. I would posit that the inferiority with which they are viewed makes them lose that cultural identity. The description of what they must go through at customs is a dehumanizing process that illustrates the feelings of the colonizer towards the colonized. For example, to question the legitimacy of the children contends that the culture these people come from would see nothing wrong with deception, and if we are not talking of citizenship, then sexual promiscuity. The whole process feels that England is actively attempting to keep the immigrants out, which would be an obvious communication of a view of cultural inferiority towards the immigrant, which would only weigh upon that person with time.