The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between Themes

Hisham Matar
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The Search for Identity

Throughout the book, and presumably throughout his life, Matar searches actively and retrospectively for a way to define his identity. Though this search is not mentioned outright, Matar frequently analyzes his own actions and thoughts to determine why "something about [him], or the life [he has] created... seems impermanent" (23).A convergence of events throughout his life have made the search for his identity turbulent: being the son of a political dissident, living in exile from Libya, and the kidnapping and disappearance of his father. He recalls that merely overhearing a conversation in Arabic ignited, "with equal force, both fear and longing" (10); fear of the Qaddafi regime and longing to return to his home, respectively. Matar introspectively and honestly discusses his scattered identity with the reader throughout the text, exploring any possible avenue such as his age, places he has lived, family members he is most...

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This section contains 2,787 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between Study Guide
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