The Exile Theme


The Exile Theme

The main theme in The Escape to Myanmar is exile. I wanted to show what happens with people when they have to adapt to a new society very different from their own and how they cope living in exile. According to the Palestinian American literary theorist, Edward W. Said, exile is:

[…] the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted (Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001, p. 173)

In Robert Edwards’ opinion exile is a psychological experience:

Under various guises, exile means separation, banishment, withdrawal, expatriation, and displacement; its emotional expression is loss, usually manifested as sorrow, though sometimes as nostalgia. (‘Exile, Self, and Society’ in Exile in literature ed. María-Inés Lagos Pope, 1988, p. 15)

Yet by its very nature, exile is a psychological experience, a response of mind and spirit to customs, codes, and political actions; […] (1988, p. 17)

In The Escape to Myanmar I have tried to portray the deep sadness and the unhealable rift between the self and its true home that Said associates with exile. I also agree with Edwards that exile is a psychological experience that involves a loss that often manifests as sadness or nostalgia, and several of the characters in The Escape to Myanmar are experiencing the “pain of exile”, George Orwell has written about in Burmese Days.

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