Identity Crisis in Two Modern Novels
The problem of identity has been one of the major problems of mankind in every society. It does not really matter which ethnic group, culture or religion someone belongs to as far as identity crisis is concerned. The conflicts, negotiations, search of identity could have to do with various issues such as West vs. East, New vs. Old or Modern vs. Conservative. My concern in this study is to exhibit the common points of identity crisis and the different responses of the writers in Henry James' 'The Ambassadors' and Halide Edib Adivar's 'The Clown and his Daughter'. It is no wonder that the major characters in each novel possess some basic similarities with the authors in quality. In other words the duality along with the nostalgia of the main characters for different reasons obviously originates from the experiences and personal choices of James and Adivar. The intention of this paper is basically to explicate the identity crisis comparatively in L.L.Strether in his sense of belonging between his native land, America and ancestral land, Europe, France to be specific and in Rabia in her in-betweenness between the modern West and the conservative East which is the Ottomans. The resolutions of this dilemma suggested by the two writers are naturally not the same as a result of the differences of both cases in nature. However different they are, the ultimate disillusionment in exposure to identity crisis is inevitable in every culture.
Keywords: Identity crisis, Duality of the characters in a novel, Culture and society, Alienation, Nostalgia, Native and foreign
Instructor, Maltepe University