Sunday, April 22nd, 2012...5:43 pm

26. Trans-

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“Exile is not only alienation. It can be a cosmopolitanism, albeit an involuntary and painful one. The experience of transposition, which is deeply related to translation, implies the possible convergence of two unpaired spheres, that of the exile and that of the host. People in exile are never completely dispossessed; like snails, they always carry alone their homes; the languages, customs, traditions of their countries. They transpose and translate; they live between two shores” (Armand 1624)

I found this narrative of a Cuban exile very interesting. The ideas and feelings that Armand expresses about being an exile parallel the feelings of many immigrants that we have read about in class. Armand’s identity as a state of “translation,” “alienation,” “transposition,” “dispossessed,” etc… do not only apply to those who are exiled, but anyone who migrates from their native country. The repetitive use of the prefix “trans” parallels this sense of crossing from one state into another (not only physical movement, but also the metaphorical movement of one’s identity). Clearly, he is stuck between two identities, the identity of his native country and the identity of his “host” country. Although Armand explains that the convergence between these two identities can be “involuntary and painful,” he also states that the convergence of these two identities can converge into one: ” implies the possible convergence of two unpaired spheres.” I found this statement to be a hopeful one, as if Armand has hope that one day his identities can merge into one, while still preserving his native culture of “languages, customs, traditions.”

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