Aftershocks Themes

Nadia Owusu
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Earthquakes as Motif

The author's repeated descriptions of and references to earthquakes act as a guiding metaphor to her memoir's themes and structure. In the opening section of the text, "First Earthquake," Nadia likens her mother's abandonment to the "catastrophic earthquake in Armenia" (2). In the days and weeks following her mother's return and disappearance, Nadia struggles to control her emotions. When her teacher asks her what is wrong, Nadia is unsure how to tell her "about the trembling that leads to ripping, then to violent rupture; to whole lives and whole cities disintegrating; to piles and piles of rubble; to displacement and exile" (6). Nadia is not only disturbed by the recent natural disaster in her mother's home country, but by the rupture her mother's absence has created. In this same passage, she wonders how to explain to her teacher "that, in an instant, an earthquake or a mother can...

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This section contains 1,968 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Aftershocks Study Guide
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