Mengistu's 'Home at Last': An Analysis

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In Dinaw Mengestu's essay "Home at Last", the author describes his transition from Ethiopia to America and describes how the transition was easier for him, as child of 2 than it was for his parents who were far more familiar and entrenched with Ethiopia than he was. In the book, Mengestu describes his challenges with trying to transition to America and trying to find a place where he really belongs. In Peoria, Illinois where his family moves after leaving Ethiopia, the author feels out of place since he was surrounded by white school, community institutions and churches. Moving to Washington DC where many Ethiopian immigrants lived, he still felt out of place and it was only when his parents moved to Brooklyn, in a neighborhood called Kensington, that Mengestu was finally able to gradually settle down. We see his gradual change as he adapts to life in Brooklyn. Before in Peoria, it was mostly White, but now he sees a composite of cultures. In Peoria he felt one out of many who seemed the same, while in Brooklyn he sees many immigrants who have had to, and do, settle down to a different home land. Mengesgtu tells us this when he says "If there was one thing I admired most about [Brooklyn immigrants], it was that they had succeeded, at least partly, in recreating in Brooklyn some of what they had lost when they left their countries of origin" (16). This refers to their success in acclimatizing regardless of foreign country and nostalgia for place they had left behind.

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