Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's Concept of Minor Literature in Ariel Dorfman's Heading South Looking North: A Bilingual Journey, Julia Alvarez's Something to Declare: Essays and Reinaldo Arenas's Before Night Falls
Keskiner, İdil Didem
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This study aims to examine Ariel Dorfman's Heading South Looking North: A Bilingual Journey (1998), Julia Alvarez's Something to Declare: Essays (1998) and Reinaldo Arenas's Before Night Falls (1993) within the framework of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's concept of minor literature. This concept is defined through three characteristics: deterritorialization of language, the political element, and the collective value. In their life narratives, the writers tell their experiences of oppression, fear and eventually forced exile from Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Chile, respectively. As their journeys of exile are shaped by the political turmoil during the Cold War and since the Caribbean and Latin America became the very regions that the Soviet Union and the United States used to establish superiority, their exile in North America causes an identity crisis. Through their life writings, Dorfman, Alvarez, and Arenas narrate their experiences in the Cold War era by using language as a critical weapon. In Heading South Looking North, which he summarizes as "dealing with life, language and death," Ariel Dorfman makes shifts from his native language, Spanish to English as his ideological perspective changes through time. In her collection of essays, Alvarez defines her family's exile to the United States as "landing in English." In the process of assimilation, she reunifies her identity with the power she finds in writing. In Before Night Falls, Arenas uses writing as a protest against the regime that sends him into exile and as an act of liberation both in the United States and Cuba, where he is restrained as a gay writer. All of these works contain criticism of U.S. foreign policies that were backed by the right-wing governments in their countries during the Cold War. Their narrating "I"s also become the voice of people who have suffered under the same military dictatorships. Hence, via their writings, Dorfman, Alvarez and Arenas come to terms with their identities.