The Meaning of Home: An Exploration of Diasporic Literature Essay

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Though often lumped together immigrant and Diasporic literature are not one and the same.

Diasporic literature handles the particular relationship between the individuals’' locations and

their ancestral homelands in a different way. Comparatively examining works of Diasporic

literature such as Paule Marshall's short story "To Da Duh, In Memoriam", and Rhina Espaillat's

poem "Cartography” certain parallels about disaporic identity and a sense of home surfaces.

In Paul Marshall’s short story “To Da Duh” is a women reflecting back on her childhood

experience of visiting, from New York, the island of Barbados (her ancestral homeland) for the

first time at the age of nine. While there the young protagonist meets her grandmother

(nicknamed Da Duh), and the two develop a rivalled relationship. Throughout the story they are

competitively comparing their homes, both trying to show how their own is better.

As the story progresses and the narrator’s relationship with her grandmother develops so

does her connection to her ancestral homeland of Barbados. Though she had never before been to

the island and knew nothing of it, of “the alien sights and sounds of Barbados, the unfamiliar

smells”, she grows close to her Da Duh who is showing the narrator her land with pride

(Marshall 96). At one point, when her grandmother is showing her the various fruit bearing

trees, the narrator felt that her world “did seem suddenly lacking” (Marshall…

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