Complex Cultural Identity And The Transmission Of Culture In Honor, Dolly City, And My Grandmother

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Complex Cultural Identity and the Transmission of Culture The relationship between culture and individual identity is in a continuous cycle where culture helps in shaping the identity of the individual, then the individual helps back by transmitting culture to different generations, so the cycle goes on again. In this paper, I explore this continuous relationship between culture and the individual identity in Honor, Dolly City, and My Grandmother. I argue that a complex cultural identity exists in the mother figures in these books, which affects the transmission of culture to the next generations.
In the first two books, Honor and My Grandmother, the complexity of the cultural identity in the mother figures, results in a better transmission
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In her Ted talk “The revolutionary power of of diverse thought,” Shafak herself mentions how she has mixed emotions about her country, or the land she came from. Shafak says that “the taste of [her] motherland, Turkey, is a mixture of sweet and bitter” (Shafak). This complexity is transferred into Shafak’s novel, as we see Pembe, a Kurdish woman, struggling with her Kurdish/Turkish identity while raising her children in an English environment.
In the novel, we see several instances of Pembe going back and forth between her Kurdish and Turkish identities. For example, when she was little, Pembe’s Turkish schoolteacher would punish anyone who speaks Kurdish in his class. This generates an opposite reaction in Pembe and her twin Jamila. While Jamila refuses to learn Turkish, “Pembe tries hard to excel
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Since Dolly City is set in a futuristic dystopian Israel, the complexity of the cultural identity is presented differently. Here, the confusion is between the identity of Dolly as an individual, and Dolly as the State of Israel. In his article “Postzionism and Its Aftermath in Hebrew Literature,” Todd Hasak-Lowy explains how in Dolly City, “Israel’s territorial ‘madness’ lies at the heart of the protagonist’s unstable identity” (93). Dolly’s unstable identity goes back and forth between being an independent individual and being a counterpart to the state of Israel. In one scene, Dolly questions “if a state like the State of Israel can’t control the Arabs in the territories, how can anybody expect [her], a private individual, to control the occupied territories inside [herself]?” (Castel-Bloom 96). Here, Dolly, is equating the madness in her with the madness in Israel, and by that ultimately equating herself with the State. In another scene, Dolly’s sister takes Son away from Dolly and tells her that she can only have him back when Dolly herself “[returns] to the 67’ borders” (Castel-Bloom 110). Here, not only Dolly sees herself as the State, but also her sister Natasha treats her as if she is the state of Israel. This confusion in identity goes even further when Dolly is seen, in an extreme part of the novel, literally carving the map of Israel

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