The rewriting of home: Autobiographies by daughters of immigrants

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This article will explore the autobiographies of three writers who were daughters of immigrants (Audre Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Eva Hoffman), focusing on the connections between the autobiographers and their parents' place of origin. I will argue that this takes the form of a myth of origin: the autobiographers recreate a magical homeland, or the strong emotions of a childhood that resembles a lost paradise. However, they also show the fraught relationship between daughters of immigrants and this place of origin: for all autobiographers who are second-generation immigrants, "home" can never be fully recovered, but has to be reclaimed and rewritten. On the other hand, Lorde and Kingston, as feminist autobiographers, contest the patriarchal traditions that prevail in their place of origin. They fashion a matrilineal tradition of strong ancestresses that challenges the tradition of fathers and sustains them against the isolation they encounter in the diaspora.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-432
Number of pages10
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


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