Realising Identity: The Process and the Product
For the displaced person, important questions are posed concerning identity and sense of place. In her autobiographical work Au pays de mes racines (1980), Marie Cardinal attempts to provide answers to her own dilemma. A pied-noir by birth, she was forced by the escalating violence of the Algerian War to quit the country of her roots in 1956 and move to France, a country whose language she spoke, but of whose culture she was largely ignorant. Needless to say, the involuntary nature of the shift from her native Algeria left her with a sense of cultural limbo which she struggled to address in her country of exile. Eventually, she returns, with very mixed emotions, twenty-four years later to confront the past, and find the self she left behind in a country from which she now feels estranged. Her discoveries are as surprising as they are life-changing and provide important insights into the issue of self-knowledge in an increasingly global environment.
Keywords: Culture, Exile, Identity
Dr Patricia D. Duffy
Senior Lecturer, Department of Languages and Cultures