Sunday, April 22nd, 2012...5:01 pm

25. Public vs. Private

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” I walked under the elevated, and turned right at Eighty-seventh Street. I began to metamorphose; the closer I got to my mother’s house, the more Colombian I became. Intense cravings for foods that were unavailable to me in the city – sach as ajiaco, arepa de buevo, morcillas, chicharrones – awoke in me” (Manrique 1731)

The narrator identifies as two different people in this excerpt from “Latin Moon in Manhattan,” a public man and a private man. Clearly, the narrator cannot identify as Colombian when he is in the public domain. He has cravings for Colombian food that “were unavailable” to him when he was not home.  These unattainable foods (outside of his home) parallel a sort of unavailable identity when he is in the public domain. This reminded me of our discussion in class about the different identites we take on in different settings. It also reminded me of other immigrant narratives I have read. For example, I am reading a book about immigrants from Calcutta and it is interesting how they have these public and private identities as well. They even have “good names” (public names) and nicknames (names only used by the family).


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