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Island of a Thousand Mirrors
A stunning literary debut set during the Sri Lankan Civil War
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Is returning home possible for an immigrant?

Created: 09/15/14

Replies: 11

Posted Sep. 15, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
LeahLovesBooks

Join Date: 04/08/14

Posts: 47

Is returning home possible for an immigrant?

The book concludes with Yasohara's stating she will bring her daughter to Sri Lanka to see, experience and learn the country of origin of her parents. Let's speculate: What will Samudhra really see? Is Yasodhara setting herself up for disappointment?


Posted Sep. 18, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mariannes

Join Date: 12/17/12

Posts: 206

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RE: Is returning home possible for an immigrant?

The daughter certainly won't see what her mother sees in Sri Lanka. She won't have any memories. She may find it beautiful in her own way, however. I think Yasodhara will be able to accept her daughter's different feelings. Parents have always had to do that. My kids don't see everything the way I do. When they were teenagers, they didn't see anything the way I did. :::-)::


Posted Sep. 18, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pate

Join Date: 03/15/13

Posts: 21

RE: Is returning home possible for an immigrant?

Samudhra will most certainly see the country differently than her mother since she did not experience the conflict that tore Sri Lanka apart. I believe her mother may be disappointed, but will realize her daughter is experiencing the country in a very different way, in a different time. I also think that Yasodhara may be surprised at the way she views her country now, many years after her immigration to America. While the horrific memories will most likely remain, she may view the culture very differently after all her years assimilating the American culture. She is also a lot older, and the young view things very differently than they do when they are much older.


Posted Sep. 18, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynneb

Join Date: 08/23/11

Posts: 70

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RE: Is returning home possible for an immigrant?

Returning home may be necessary at times to determine if you made the right choice in leaving. I think in Yasodhara's case she wants to show her daughter the beauty of her country that she was forced to leave and show her her roots. That would be a good reason to return for at least a visit.


Posted Sep. 21, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 294

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RE: Is returning home possible for an immigrant?

Of course returning home is possible. Whether or not an immigrant in America wants to stay permanently in the home country might be another matter. Sometimes the lure of materialism and what is perceived as job opportunities in the USA is very strong. I personally know some people from developing countries who came to America and worked as many hours as they could for at least a decade in order to be able to move home and have a great start in life there.


Posted Sep. 21, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1303

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RE: Is returning home possible for an immigrant?

I think what Leah means is not whether it's physically possible to return to a country, which clearly it is presuming there isn't a physical or political situation preventing it, but whether the place you leave is ever really the place you return to. As someone who has been in the USA now for 21 years I realize that while I could choose to live in the UK, and semantically speaking that would be a return to my country of origin, I would not be "returning home" as too much has changed in the country I left for it to be the same place; and in the process of becoming fully vested in the country I'm living in I have to let go of some of the roots - or find myself in an endless and tedious mental game of comparison while never fully engaging in the place that I'm living.

For me, the UK is a wonderful place to visit with family and friends around many corners, and I enjoy being a tourist in the country I grew up in. The pull to move is considerable but even if there weren't family ties holding me here I think I would still have to think very carefully before doing so. But I am sure that this is not the case for everyone, for example Rebecca's friends (previous post) who came to the US to achieve certain objectives with the end game always being to return home. I imagine they were likely able to return with little difficulty as in their minds they never fully left.


Posted Sep. 21, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sandrah

Join Date: 07/18/11

Posts: 56

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RE: Is returning home possible for an immigrant?

Yes and no. My husband and I recently visited the home we had in Texas for fourteen years. Our youngest two children were born there and we made some close friends but our memories were soon satisfied. This was no longer home. Likewise, when I return to my childhood homes, they are seen through my memories and are no longer places I want to again be part of. They instead are part of who I have become.

So while I believe an immigrant can physically go home, I don't believe they will "be" home.


"The reader lives a 1000 lives before he dies. The [person] who never reads lives only one."
George R.R. Martin.
Posted Sep. 22, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kenanr

Join Date: 02/20/14

Posts: 13

RE: Is returning home possible for an immigrant?

No. Every experience we have shapes us, changes us into someone we were not until that moment. You can go back to your old house, your former town or country, but you will not be the same person who lived there, anymore than it will be the same place you left. Home and you are elastic, and your memories of home are incredibly malleable. The school you attended and the park where you played are so much smaller. Your young, beautiful first grade teacher is now a grandmother. The place where you had your first kiss is a strip mall, but the park bench where you and your best friend carved your names is still there, and the tree that your brother fell out of and broke his arm so you carried home home is still there and kids still climb it. It is part of the road map of your life, it is where you first started to become you, but it is just a segment - a link in the chain that we all forge. It matters not, if you are an immigrant. It is a universal truth - as Thomas Wolfe wrote - "You Can't Go Home Again".


Posted Sep. 22, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeanettel

Join Date: 01/05/12

Posts: 53

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RE: Is returning home possible for an immigrant?

Usually returning home is never what one imagined it would be and in the case of the people in this story the change in lifestyle and everything is so dramatically different that even when they met new arrival at their uncle’s house they recognized how much they had already changed.


Posted Sep. 23, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
SusanB

Join Date: 04/28/11

Posts: 7

RE: Is returning home possible for an immigrant?

In the case of this story returning home is not returning home to the home they knew, that home is gone and only memories remain. The people will have changed, aged by war and stress and hunger. Her daughter will never understand what she went thru as it is not her experience.


Posted Sep. 25, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 262

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RE: Is returning home possible for an immigrant?

I think many immigrants remain here because they feel they have an opportunity for a better life but still long for their homeland. In my personal experience I tried going back to where I was raised many years later and found that both I and the place had changed.


Posted Oct. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

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RE: Is returning home possible for an immigrant?

Once again assimilation is easy. Returning poses just as difficult if not more difficult. Personal growth/change also makes going back a challenge. With anything in life, it is possible with its share of trial and tribulations.


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