“Otherness” in America: Hemingway, Hungarians, and Transnationalism

Teodóra Dömötör

Abstract


Volatility regarding negotiated subject positions features prominently in Hemingway’s works. Yet, his portrayal of Hungarians in the vignette of Chapter VIII and the short story entitled “The Revolutionist” (both found in the collection of In Our Time, 1925) underlines 1920s America’s unwillingness to modify preconceived stereotypes about the “other.” Both stories have attracted considerable attention among scholars who have analyzed these texts from such perspectives as political ideology and the arts. Aiming to fill a gap in literary criticism, I shall examine the narrative representation of stereotypical approaches to the Hungarian minority with emphasis on societal expectations set by white, Anglo-Saxon, middle-class men in the United States during the 1920s. The values they propagated in society illustrate that the Roaring Twenties was an openly discriminatory decade in which ignoring and sometimes literally attacking the “other” for deviating from the prescribed norms of the era was acceptable. Anxiety about the “other” uncovers a great deal of national insecurity; America’s battle with foreigners merges into a battle with itself.


Keywords


Identity; otherness; foreignness; discrimination; transnationalism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/ahea.2020.386



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