Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Incurable Homesickness

So far in our course, we have discussed home in terms of countries and cultures as well as finding home within ourselves.  In East, West, this is the first time we see “home…to be other people,” (150 Rushdie).  Our feeling of home is certainly determined by others because it is with other people that we laugh, love, and remember.  In this way, homesickness can be felt perhaps without ever leaving our physical “home.”  When looking at homelands in this lens, we have all felt homesick at some point not necessarily because we miss a place, but we miss particular people who have made our homeland home. 
            Rushdie mentions in the chapter “In the Harmony of the Spheres” how Eliot was a bridge for our narrator between his two “world views” of Asian and European, East and West.  Rushdie had found solace and a feeling of home in Eliot despite his craziness because he made it possible for Rushdie to combine both worlds somehow.  In the last chapter, “Courter”, Mix-Up ends up becoming disillusioned after being beaten up and suddenly Mary does not feel at home anymore in London.  This could simply be because Mix-Up kind of characterized India for her without feeling too distant from it.  However, he too acts as a kind of home in personifying two worlds coming together in one person for Mary.  If we look at homelands within people, those people who can bridge “two othernesses” within ourselves, can be lost or change even when we are physically home.  Because everything is impermanent and will inevitably change, so too will the most important people in our lives change, thus changing out homeland as well.  Therefore, there really is no prevention or cure to this kind of inevitable homesickness, even when you feel totally at home within yourself or are physically at your home/ homeland.  As we see with Mary and Mix-Up, once she “loses” him, she realizes how she has lost “being India” and “being Bombay,” not necessarily being in India or being in Bombay.  I do not think London automatically killed her, but rather she lost the piece of India in Mix-Up that she held on to for the entire story.  As Rushdie wrote, “home, like Hell, turned out to be other people,” (139 Rushdie).   Our inevitable dependence on others in this way is a double edged sword.  When we love people, we feel at home within ourselves because their presence can make us whole as we have read with Mary and with Rushdie and Eliot.  However, when we lose people or they change, that disrupts the harmony within ourselves, making us totally lost and feel not at home anywhere. 

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