Thursday, March 3, 2011

Home is Wherever I'm With You

Baltimore is my home. Baltimore is where I grew up; it’s where my ancestors came from. It’s where my great-grandfather started his trucking business in 1919 that is still the livelihood for my family today. My parents, both Baltimoreans, met at Loyola College and were married at Loyola’s chapel. Baltimore serves as home to me. I am in love with this city and the people who inhabit it.

In Albert Wednt’s Sons for the Return Home, the protagonist, a young Samoan boy living in New Zealand, is told that he is not home. He is encouraged to hate the land, the people, everything about New Zealand. But the boy grows up in New Zealand and adapts to the Palagi customs while being told not to feel home; our protagonist is confused, lost, insecure. It is not until he meets a woman that New Zealand begins to feel like a home. “He admitted to himself that this was the happiest time he had ever spent in New Zealand. By loving her, he was feeling for the first time a growing and meaningful attachment to the country which had bred her” (24). This girl shows him love and affection, and where there is love, there is comfort… there is home.

There is a song I could not help but think of while reading this text. It’s called “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. The lyrics that hold true to the text. “Ahh, Home / Let me come home / Home is wherever I’m with you.” Home is not about where you are… it is about who your with. For home to exist, there needs to be love.

Reading the novel, I sympathized with the protagonist. He has no true idea of where he is from which helps construct the identity of a person. I have never for a second doubted my home; there must be some intense frustration due to this emptiness.

The protagonist loses this sense of home when the love between him and the girl fades away. The love vanished and so does the notion of home. I thought the novel was left incomplete; the boy remains uneasy with yet again another misconstrued notion of what is home to him. In the last chapter of the book, we see the boy’s grief over the girl. He reads the poems he had written about her. She comes alive again while he reads these poems. To lose all sense of her, he tears them up. There is nothing left for him in New Zealand, there is nothing left for him in his past. The only thing he has is to move forward. For just a minute, he reflects on the past. Unlike his parents who are completely ruled by the past, the boy knows this danger.

I think I take my home for granted. I've never left it, I've never questioned it, it's always been here for me. Reading this book has given me some reason to truly appreciate Baltimore as my home. Baltimore is home because the ones I love live here. This is their home, and because it is their home, it has become my home as well. We adopt the homes from the ones we love.

No comments:

Post a Comment