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Like Ozick, Pinter shows the costs that come with assimilation. By examining the process of naming characters in the play, and by regarding characters and families as symbols for nations and ethnicities, Malcolm illustrates how Pinter's story deals with the notion of home, belonging and not belonging. Furthermore, Malcolm reveals allusions to and elements characteristic of immigrant experiences and demonstrates how the play is build on a discourse of exile.

It is this reading between the lines, and excavating what lies beneath the text through careful and thorough close reading, that makes Malcolm's analyses so rich and enriching. The novel recounts the journey of Jewish refugees in Britain who were shipped on the Dunera to Australia.

Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form

The story is about a German Jewish protagonist in Britain who wants to hide his Jewish identity. In her discussion of the protagonist's relation with his Jewish identity, Malcolm reveals the tactics and techniques of identification and self-identification.

Malcolm focuses especially on the episodes in which Yekl's wife, Gitl, comes to America to join him. Because of this, he takes the place of the non-Jew. Yekl distances himself from the other Jews. This is also the conclusion that she reaches in her discussion of the Yiddish American Film, The Cantor's Son , in the second chapter of this part. Malcolm claims that the theme of the journeys in this film, from America to Poland or from Poland to America, function as metaphors 'for journeys of assimilation and the attainment of "whiteness" for its Jewish protagonist' The first chapter of part five, "Poets and Other Imposters", presents a unique juxtaposition of two dissimilar authors, Cynthia Ozick and Anita Brookner.

Malcolm discusses Brookner's Providence and Ozick's "Virility". Malcolm presents the similarities and the differences between these works. As in earlier chapters, assimilation is regarded, not as a static thing, but as fluctuating and precarious. The act of assimilation entails an act of letting go. The protagonists both run away from their former selves; they reject blood relations and actual family, and they turn to new adoptive families. Both stories deal with the act of passing, with wanting to forget one's former self.

However, this act can also have grave consequences: the freedom attained in this way can also be some sort of trap. And what one needs to forget can become the center of preoccupation. Both these stories have the necessary elements of the passing narrative, which includes motives of silence and risk. With a clear and careful examination of names, and of the differences and similarities between the protagonists, Malcolm shows how the two stories differ: one is a study of fear, the other a lesson in poor judgment.

Part six, "Remembrance and Survival", includes works that have the Holocaust as their main theme. In this part, Malcolm examines different ways to deal with the Holocaust, the fact that Jews are always considered as being outsiders, the importance of remembering, and the equal important task to move on. These are themes that reappear in the different analyses of the works. The first chapter of this part deals with the movies Chariots of Fire and X-Men. In a very interesting way, Malcolm shows how national identities are dealt with in these films.

In Chariots of Fire , the Jewish protagonist Harold Abraham is considered as a symbol of England, but this character nevertheless continually confronts the conventions of Englishness. Malcolm demonstrates how this character always stands apart. Contrary to the religious identity of other characters, Abraham's Jewish identity is more elusive. Similarly, in the movie X-Men , the protagonists some sort of mutants stand outside of mainstream society. Through a scene in which Auschwitz appears and through other symbols, the movie refers to the situation of the Jews in the Nazi period. Malcolm ends her discussion of these two movies by contemplating the depiction of Jews in the cinema.


The second chapter of this part deals with Cynthia Ozick's The Shawl. More specifically, it centers on the conflict between Rosa's pre-war Polish identity, and her post-war Jewish American identity. Malcolm claims that in The Shawl , Ozick depicts the trauma of an assimilated Polish Jew whose love of Poland does not spare her from the same fate as an unassimilated Jew in the Holocaust' The third chapter deals with Anita Brookner's Latecomers ; a novel about child evacuees. The novel presents us with two mature men who were once child evacuees.

The two men react differently to their past: one is preoccupied with it, the other does not want to look back. She pays particular attention to the characterization of the two main protagonist and their two different ways to deal with the legacy of the Holocaust. Malcolm shows how memories, even if they differ between the two protagonists, even if they are horrible, or banal, are essential to establish as sense of identity and belonging. More specifically, she pays attention to the ways in which, in the story "A Quotation from Klopstock", Nazi stereotypes and Nazi rhetoric are undermined.

The cases of Sweden and France are particularly interesting, because they seem to be completely opposite on many aspects. Sweden never was a colonial country and experienced a very late immigration. Yet she adapted her narrative to proclaim herself a multicultural country.

On the contrary, France, that was the second largest colonial empire in the world, and where immigration is ancient, sticks to a republican, equalitarian narrative, refusing to take cultural differences into account.

It is necessary to understand how Sweden, in spite of her relative lack of experience with immigration questions can deal with the change in its population and how the second largest immigration country in Europe, France, seems hardly able to do so. But we will also ask if this way of putting things is not too simple. Is Sweden a true multiculturalist, and France a true assimilationnist, or do they tend to adopt a converging pattern? This paper will first examine datas on immigration in the two countries. Then it will examine their national identities narratives and the possibilities they offer to adapt to the changes brought by cultural globalization.

Historically, Sweden has not been an immigration country but a land of emigration, since more than one million Swedes migrated to North America from the mid th century to In , Sweden was a very homogeneous country. The picture changed from World War II.

(PDF) The Representational Logic of Post-Americanist Narratives | Theo D'haen -

Sweden officially ended labour immigration from non-Nordic countries in , as most European countries did. Moreover, asylum seekers came from developing countries and from Eastern Europe. The new system is quite generous, compared to other European countries. Simply based on employers needs for competence, it will allow workers from countries other than European to be granted a permanent residence permit after four years of employment In , according to Statistics Sweden, In France, immigration is ancient. According to Patrick Weil, one of the best specialists of this subject, France has been an immigration country since the 13th century.

But immigration soon turned into a massive one, to respond to the needs of the industrial development. Nonetheless, even if it was not wished, immigration from North Africa developed, since in , Algerians were allowed to go to France without permit. Once again, France tried to organize the return of immigrants back home, but this project failed. But actually, immigration went on mainly because of family reunification and asylum seekers. But non-European workers will be submitted to quotas by type of job. Moreover, the control of illegal immigration — and operations of taking illegal immigrants back to the borders will be tougher.

In absolute figures, France is the second country in Europe in number of foreigners 4. France also has the largest Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe. As the French Constitution prohibits the discrimination of inhabitants in France on a religious or an ethnic basis, it is difficult to gather data and almost impossible to know, as in Sweden, how many people are foreign-born or French-born with foreign-born parents.

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  6. Immigration in Sweden and France;

However, demographers assess the number of French people with foreign origins is The closeness of these figures is striking, as Sweden has no colonial past. The speeding up of immigration during the last decades has given Sweden a totally new face, whereas in France, evolution was smoother. This may give a first explanation why Sweden, with her relative recent immigration, has turned from assimilationism to multiculturalism, whereas France did not change her narrative. In Sweden, immigration was more recent and more rapid than in France, and the vast majority of newcomers did not have anything in common with the Swedish culture.

So the need for integration policies and for an adaptation of the national identity narrative may have been more pressing.


Before their arrival, they already shared some elements of the French culture, such as the French language and general culture, but also knowledge of French institutions and legal system as they had been exported to colonies. And for people not coming from the former empire, they may have been in contact with the French culture through the francophonie, an international organisation gathering French-speaking countries for instance, Romania belongs to francophonie institutions. So France, with its equalitarian discourse, did not have to give any particular answer to cultural cohabitation, whereas in Sweden, cultural cohabitation was experienced more as an acute problem needing to be solved.

They were fully integrated from a cultural point of view, but the problem was a problem of social integration A complementary explanation for Swedish and French stances may be found in the content of the national identity narratives of each country. Sweden has long been depicted as a world exception, because of her ethnic homogeneity… Now this discourse — which was an official myth rather than an anthropological reality 21 —, is completely obsolete. Almost a fifth of the population has roots in other countries. The change occurred in , when a Swedish Instrument of Government exhorted support for linguistic, religious and cultural groups who prefer to maintain their inherited characteristics Swedish national identity narrative has adapted several times in history.

A major change occurred when Sweden lost her great power position in the Baltic region. The traditional identity narrative telling about glorious Gothic ancestors then changed. The new narrative accommodated the old Gothic past with the construction of a Viking myth elaborated by poets such as Esaisas Tegner and Erik Gustaf Geiger. Poverty was combined to lutheran values. The nation was seen as diligent and industrious, cultivating discipline and self control rather than a desire for revendge Central to this narrative was the figure of the peasant, who was sacralized during the national romanticism era of the 19 th century. The peasant was considered as the core of the people, the Folk , as well as the heir of the Vikings. There was a tradition of considering the king as an ally of the peasants against the upper classes, so that when the political system was democratized, the State was still considered as the liberator of the individual.

According to this, an emphasis was put on the Swedish Nordic democratic tradition and on the central position of peasantry in the nation. The State is seen as an ally of the folk, as it eradicates privileges. The social contract is placed between the individual and the State at the expense of institutions, which makes a deep difference with other European countries. The first core value of the narrative is equality.