Monday, April 15, 2013

The Home We Have Within Ourselves

I think the most important lesson we can learn from Jasmine is that in order to find a home with others, we must first find a home within ourselves.  Throughout her difficult life, our narrator did what she needed to in order to be happy with herself.  She left her native country behind to carry our her dead husband’s wish, left a comfortable life of familiarity because she wasn’t fulfilled, left behind a lover to find security, and left a near husband to live with the man of her dreams.  In all of this leaving, she was compelled not only to abandon others, but parts of herself as well.  Though doing this was not easy, she recognized that she could never truly be home unless she found contentment within herself.  Despite her life of constant change, our protagonist always kept her fighting spirit.  Jasmine teaches us to keep a firm grasp on our truest essence, even when everything else in our lives seems to be changing.  Otherwise, we will never be happy.  

Maybe it’s my overwhelming American bias, but when I first saw “Post-Colonial Homelands” in the course offerings, I thought “Why would I want to take a class about colonial literature?”  To me, nothing sounded more boring than doing an intensive study of Plymouth Rock or the First Thanksgiving from a literary perspective.  I immediately crossed it off the list (no offense Dr. Ellis).  But what happened next was one of those great twists of fate that only further enhances my belief that everything happens for a reason.  A class I had originally wanted to take was dropped, and this class was the only other option that worked with my schedule.  After our first meeting, I knew it was meant to be.  Each class discussion has brought forth a new definition of home, and has made me think of the function of home within my own life.  Now, I can recognize the many homes in my life, in places I had never seen them before.  I have found a home within myself, a place where all of my identities can exist with one another.  I am an American, but I’m also a little bit Parisian.  New Jersey is my state, but so is Maryland.  I’m a daughter, a sister, a friend, a roommate, a classmate, a co-worker.  English is the language I speak and study, but I can understand a smattering of Spanish, a handful of French.  I am an experienced traveler, yet still have so much of the world to see.   All of these identities co-mingle with one another to create the best kind of home there is, a completely fulfilled sense of self.  This class has taught me to find a home wherever I go, with whomever I meet, with whatever I do.  Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to discover that the term “Post-Colonial Homelands” doesn’t necessarily have to connote Pilgrims and Indians.    

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