Dimensions of refugee identity in Dina Nayeri’s Refuge
The article concentrates on Dina Nayeri’s novel “Refuge”. The focus of this article is on the processes of formation of refugee’s identity of the main character, Niloo. It has been argued that the construction of her agency is based on the continual dialogue between her and her father as well as between her and the exiled Iranians in Amsterdam. The main character’s initial reluctance to support connections with her father and, in a broader sense, with her native country is transformed during the novel’s diegesis. In the end, Niloo admits that she needs to embrace her Iranian self and establish a dialogue with her past. The second part of the article deals with the notion of the refugee community and the idea that exiled collective identity is constructed on the primal injury of oppression and exclusion. Niloo’s meetings with her people stimulate her to reconsider that part of herself she was trying to suppress. Moreover, the reconciliation with her former neglected self becomes possible after meeting the Iranian immigrants. The diegetic narrator tries to make sense of her life and construct her agency through negotiations with others. It is concluded that the refugee’s past experience cannot be forgotten or refused during the formation of an exiled identity. Instead, it must be integrated and acknowledged by a forced migrant.
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