The topic of immigration in historical novels. An examination of "Daughter of Fortune" and "Portrait in Sepia" by Isabel Allende

Master's Thesis, 2011

61 Pages, Grade: Masters







Chapter 1: Introduction
The significant period of age of discovery and migratory patterns:
Trends of migration to south america:
The spanish conquest and influx of immigrants:
Hispanic immgrants in united states of america:
Biography and works of isabel allende
Objective of the research work

Chapter 2: Literature Review
Criticism on Isabel Allende’s work:

Chapter 3: Reasons Of Immigration

Chapter 4: Effects Of Immigrations On Immigrants

Chapter 5: Migrant Women And Their Settlement


Works Cited


The composing process of this thesis is the most valuable Journey I have ever had. Without this journey, I would not have realized how much treasure, fortune, and love Allah Almighty had endowed me.

I would like to extend my special gratitude to Ma’am Ambrina Quyyum who has always supported me with her prayers throughout my M.A.ENG degree programme. Her unshaken and unconditional support enabled me to complete my research work successfully. She spared no effort in encouraging me to conduct this study.

I am extremely thankful to my loving mother who always sacrificed her today for my tomorrow and prayed for my success. Without her continuous encouragement and moral support, I would not have been able to complete this project.

I owe a great deal to the subject teacher Mr. Adnan Rasheed for his patient and supportive supervision. I am highly indebted to him for his kind cooperation in all stages of this research work.

I am thankful to all my friends especially Shehla Gul, Amina khan, Sadia Khalid, Farhat Javed & Kashif Abbas Hashmi. My love for my brother Haris Ahmed Saghir, sister Ayesha Saghir and my Soulmate who were insightful and perceptive in their valuable suggestions and hints to complete this research study.

Finally, I am extremely thankful to all the participants who provided me rich and detailed data for the study and lent breadth and value to the research findings.

Lastly, I offer my regards to all of those who supported me in any respect during the completion of the project.


I would like to dedicate this work to Maam Ambrina Quyyum and my loving father, M. Saghir Ahmed, for their unconditional support and guidance.


This research work will explore the premise of immigration in two historical novels of Isabel Allende.


The hypothesis of current research work is related to the exploration of theme of immigration in Isabel Allende’s fictional work. It deals with the question how Isabel Allende deals with the issue of immigration in her novels.

Chapter 1: Introduction

The nature of men is always inconsistent. This inconsistency has always led him to make striking changes throughout the history. Movement has always been a result of man’s striving for satisfaction of his desires as well as his helplessness before natural calamities. Whatever the reason might be, either fulfillment of instinctual desires or a result of tragic circumstances, one has always felt the urge to change his habitat over the years. This change of habitat is referred to as immigration which has been a complex communal process for ages. The specific action or instance of moving from one place to another place is known as migration (Mifflin, 2000 updated in 2009).

The element of migration has always been a very major aspect of human history. Even the evolution and transcendence of human being is based upon migration. According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Immigration is the process of inflowing or entering another country in order to live there permanently. If we further inquire into the matter we shall come to know that the word immigration is originated from the Latin word “immigrates”, the past participle of “immigrare” which means to remove, go in, and it is most commonly believed that the term was first used in 1623 (Longman dictionary of contemporary English, 2005).

The movement of group of people from one place to other which can either be voluntary or involuntary (forced) is known as migration. People who migrate out of their native countries are known as migrants, immigrants or emigrants depending upon their location, settings and different other circumstances which force them to change their places (Human Migration, 2009).There are wide ranges of views of migrant theorist and experts about the natural phenomenon of displacement within the state or out of the state across the continents. According to one of the theory, the traces of migration of modern man are found where resources were abundant. The national geographic reports prove that modern man moved from Africa and moved towards East, gradually spread to south Asia and eventually reached up to Australia. The traces of immigrations are found in almost all continents of the world and thus a multicultural world came in to existence. The movement of descendent of early men continued for many years till they reached Europe (Grabianowski, 2011). “According to “Atlas of the world history’’ by John Haywood, the migration pattern of early human from Africa to other continents Asia, Australia occurred during the time period that ranges between 90,000 to 30,000 years ago” (Haywood, 2000).

People who are forced to migrate are categorized as forced migrants. No matter whether movement is enforced or not, group migrations play a significant role in the formation of a multicultural world. The migratory patterns can be of various kinds depending upon the reasons and circumstances of the displaced people or groups. These reasons may include hurricanes, draughts, cyclones and earth quakes, and infectious diseases that may break out in a particular place to force people for migration. Forced migration generally includes refugees and people who move within the country after suffering from any natural disaster. This movement within the country can be of temporary or permanent nature. People may be forced to change their place of residence by governmental forces. These migrants who are compelled to change their places for different natural and political or social reasons are known as internally displaced people (Force migration Learning module).

The inhabitants of Persian state also known as Iran has experienced a strong impulse of migration during early 7th and 8th century. Iran was conquered by Muslims of Arabs which lead to the decline of religion of Zoroastrian from Iran. The Islam was the only religion introduced in Iran by invaders as a result of which the parses had to disperse and displace from their native towns. The dominating reason for migration was the Islamic wave that surrounded these parses and forced them to convert into Islam. The process of Islamization in Iran made people of Zoroastrian religion to flee from their original area to neighboring countries. They had to face forced migration so they escaped and flee across the native land towards Indian Gujarat regions and Sindh region of Pakistan (Encyclopedia Britannica Parsee, 2011).

These parses were victims of discrimination and oppression that made them displaced and uprooted religious community of the world. They maintained their customs even the multicultural Asian society like India. They learnt the language of the new society but also continued to follow their own customs, practices manners and their rituals. The newly arrived language Arabic in Iran was spreading its wings and intermingled with the spoken language of Farsi or person.

The Muslims persecution and oppression made them seek asylum in the south Asian regions so they emigrated and settled themselves leaving behind no connection with Iran. They kept on adopting the culture of recipient society of India but at the same time followed their own customs. The Zoroastrian immigrants lived on coastal areas of Gujarat, India after moving from Iran. They made their settlement in India. (Eduljee, 2007_ 2011). These Zoroastrian immigrants who moved to Asian regions always associated themselves with their original land, Iran. The main areas of inhabitants of these migrants were Bombay and Karachi. Gradually their migration patterns changed and they started moving towards other countries (Hinnells, 2005).

The significant period of age of discovery and migratory patterns:

The historians consider the 15th century to be the turning channel for great changes in the maps of the world. It’s the age of Discovery, invention or exploration as the historians regard it to be of great importance. The discovery of different metals made people rush towards the newly invented sources of incomes. The 15th and 16th century opened new gates for Asians. Europeans initiated their long lasting era of vast exploration of the world to build strong connection with the world's continents including Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe. The historical reports show that the earliest immigrations during this period were because of discoveries such as the discovery of the Gold. The patterns of migrations touch upon few important events like Spanish conquest of

America, the role of French conquests and extensions, the contributions of English and Dutch towards the discovery of new world of America. The period of colonization built strong cultural ties between different cultures of communities of the world. People moved across to find out new trade routes during this period (Briney).

According to Los Angeles’s detailed description, the details of first settlers on American soil are not accurate because of any clear cut evidences about them. Certain researches have been conducted to trace the origin of first settlers by anthropologist and experts. They assert that early migrants to America set their foot on the soil some 40,000 years ago. Different leading experts, geologist, molecular geneticist, and experts of ecological studies agree with the fact that ancient American migrants spread on American lands long before the ice age swept the whole continent. For thousands of early years these migrants were restricted there, as the ice glaciers separated them from their native land. Few migrants flee across the country towards south, and after the changed climatic conditions from cold to warmer climate; they resettled back to Northern American areas.

The Chairman of anthropological department in Smithsonian institution, Dennis Stanford remarked about the historical aspects of early American immigrants, that the basic observed facts on preliminary factual information suggest that these early folks were probably from a population that predated modern North American Indian physically. There exists another widespread view about the origin of migrants in the continent which is based on modern studies and analysis of Native American languages. According to this view, people arrived the shores of the continent around 30,000 to 40,000 years ago (Hotz, 1998) . The flocks of people from European areas were the immigrants who got settled in America as they were inspired by economic opportunities of the land.

Their inward movement in America reached its maximum height between 1892 _ 1924 (Merin, 2008). The Ellis Island was a marked place of entry for these new arrivals. Between 1820 and 1979, the United States admitted more than 49 million immigrants. Between 1820 to 1979, the American border line was stretched to accommodate 49 million outsiders in it. Following such a speedy inflow of people from other countries, the American authorities started setting the limits for new comers to the United States. Series of law formation took place in the year 1924 to decide that how many people from other specific countries should be allowed to creep in the territory of America.

The system of immigration quotas was also introduced in nineteenth century to decide the accurate number of people who would be admitted to America. The rules were set to establish standards and demands of immigrants who were allowed to make entry in the land. The system of preferences was also introduced that relatives of U. S citizens and other person with specific traits and skills should be favored. The statistical analysis of immigrants in the United state; suggest that, in the year 2007 the population density increased and it included 38.1 million foreign born people (U.S Society, Nation of Immigrants, 2010).

The unneeded and starved millions of migrants directed their way towards the biggest land of the world which is composed of millions of displaced and uprooted people. The American soil has always been labeled as the land full of resources, holding opportunity and freedom for desperate migrants of the world. The margins of American country extended its limits for outsiders throughout the history. America became the target of settlers of other countries. People look towards America as the land of hope, liberty and successes by adventures, warriors, wealth seekers and ordinary people. It is believed that America was populated by immigrants for the first time which means that Americans are migrants who moved to states for finding a permanent place for residence and accommodation. New arrivals came to America not only from European countries but also from Asian lands. People belonging to Germany and Ireland moved towards America from their lands to find a secure land filled with future opportunities that could guarantee their survival because they were forced to leave their countries for economical, political and personal reason. The dominating reason for these German, Irish migrations was the absolute poverty which became their fate during devastating crop failures and naturally unbalanced circumstances which were harsh for them. The detailed accounts of History of International migration shows that the American revolutionary war in the early years of 1770 apparently hindered the inflow of immigrants for a brief period but later on, the level accelerated between on decade 1840 to 1850.The migration to America was not only limited to Ireland and Germany but also stretched its limits for migrants from other countries including Russia, Poland, Italy and Scandinavian countries. Thus migrants from all southern and eastern countries laid the foundation of States.

The European industrial revolution also pushed native people of their own lands in to American territory for residential and economical purpose. Migrants seek refuge on American Soil. All the ancestors of present day Americans were immigrants who left their lands for a wide range of reasons. During the time span between 1830 to 1850, the number of migrants increased to maximum level ranging between 200,000 to 515,000. The American soil became homeland to many migrants within few years. Gradually the land itself started the demand of migrants due to increasing Industrial economy after the American civil war. There was a space created for outsiders to come and take over the control of the area by utilizing their own capacities and potentialities. This unoccupied space was filled by immigrants again. The pool for immigrants in America became deep and magnetic which attracted people around towards itself. The immigration to America was slow at times, but at other times it accelerated. During depression era of 1930 and the years of Second World War, the process of movement of migrants towards America was slow down. Both the world wars decreased the inflow of migrants dramatically. During mid nineteenth century, the migration speed accelerated up and still it’s expanding its limits. The migration during 1845 to 1853 is known as the massive exodus. Before that, during 1815 to 1845 poorer English emigrants started moving towards other lands. It was massive migration which continued in a chain and thousands of people moved with their families. These migrants were mostly peasants, artisans, craftsmen and townsmen left their native land in extreme distress and depression. There were two waves of migration that were more noticeable. One of the waves was pre famine migration; the other was the recurrent food crises which lead to the massive migration of people and the annual outflow increased throughout the century. During 1840 to 1890, the outflow of Irish immigrants was accelerated. Women also accompanied men and the family migration was initiated which moved in chain (The Migration to North America, 2008). The Germans also migrated to North America during the period ranging between 1815 to 1914. They were settled in west America. These German migrants were mostly political liberals who faced hardships in their own country Canada was occupied mostly by people who came from France or Great Britain (Schrover, 2008). A great proportion of migrants belonged to Scandinavian countries but they were totally different from other migrants. These young migrants were comparatively educated and well off. They were dissatisfied with the limiting forces of church, family norms customs and confines of states so they emigrated. They were also peasants. Other groups of people entering America included, migrant groups from Portugal, Italy, and Greece. All of these ethnic groups enriched the American life with their own customs. The migration of Poles and Jews to America during 19th century changed the entire shape of

American culture. Women migrants were also observed who accompanied these East European Jews. Some groups of Jews also migrated from Russia to United States during early part of 19th century. The numbers of migrants who moved to North America were mostly people belonging to Europe, following political unrest of facing economic crises. Europeans entered America much earlier than the Asian immigrants. The multicultural society of America has also Asian colors in it. The Asian migrants travelled across the lands to the United States during the last decade of 19th century. After new laws and legislations by American authorities, Asian people found a new way for their movement families. They saw new ways which were opened to them for citizenship status and resident on permanent basis. The massive migration of Asian people began during late 1960’s (Avakian, 2002).

Many migrants migrated from different regions of China, Philippines, Mexico and India towards United States. Mexican ethnic group forms the largest migrant group in America. Chinese immigrants were tolerated in the very beginning but later own during California Gold rush period, things turned against Chinese. But with the passage of time, Asian migrant participated in the net change of American culture and assimilated successfully. Chinese migrants sold goods in the famous streets of America during the boom period of Gold rush. They also worked as miners and laborers in America. Following the discovery of Gold in the hills of California, America attracted migrants from all other continents towards itself. With the development in agricultural field, Japanese started moving towards America especially to Central America. There are few groups of immigrants who have experienced the forced immigration, for instance, the slave trading of African people in America Slavery has a strong root origin the history of man.

Forced or involuntary migration, the one that takes place without the desire of an individual, was very common with black people. The trend of making other people slaves is the oldest business of man on earth. (Nosotro, 2000_ 2010) The black African was captivated by Whites for so many different reasons. The black Africans were forced migrants who were kept by Whites against their will or desire. Their was a kind of buying and selling existed just as things are being sold and brought by people or the business of slavery was a strong base of migration. Whites used to buy the Blacks against their desire to capture them as slave for the life time for making them slaves to do physical labor. Sex business deals were also common ways of the kinds of slavery because it is also against the will and enforced on others. The poor community's debts often made them sell themselves to these white. The racial discrimination being faced by blacks continued all along. Women also suffered because they are forced to become prostitutes in this web of Slavery. The blacks had to go a great deal pain in order to adjust themselves in American land. The blacks assimilated themselves in American land after going through a long way of pain and transformations. The forced immigrants such as black Africans out of their native land in America were the result of constant demand of labor in the states as well as ethnic prejudices against blacks.

Trends of migration to south america:

The category of South American countries includes Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Columbia, Peru, French Guiana and Venezuela (Georaphy South America, 2011). Many millions of people have migrated across North and South American regions and added to the cultural diversity of United States of America over the years and particularly in 19th century. The migratory trends of South American countries show both types of migration forced migration of Africans as well as voluntary migration of worker belonging to different trades from developed countries to South America. The greater proportions of European immigrants moved to North and South American countries. This migration trend from European countries changed the religious and social conditions of South American countries. These European countries brought with them new religion of Christianity along with new languages like Spanish and Portuguese. The migrants gradually moved in bulks to Argentina to make their fortune as masons, carpenter, and laborers because cities were gradually developing with the growth of industrialization in 19th century (Velez, 2011).

The spanish conquest and influx of immigrants:

The critical time period of change in the history stretches its limit from 1492 to about 1600 (Pikerman, 2002). During this time period different flow of immigrations were seen with conquests and colonization. The Spanish conquest, and controls are historically the major event giving rise to displacements and shifting of group of people across the continents. This rule over western world ranging from eastern, western, south western regions of America British Columbia and the surrounding territories in early 15th century is responsible for the biggest political and social change as brought up by the explorers. These explorers later on, became the settlers of America with the view of stretching ahead the trade activities and religious transformations.

Christopher Columbus was an explorer who decided to make his voyage west ward and other Asian regions where riches like pearls and spices were found. He made his journey in the year 1942 and with this first step extensive period of colonization of many states including Peru and Mexico started. Gradually, the Spaniards entered in American regions and colonized. The colonization of Mexico and central and south America by Spaniards helped them establish cities in America thus the process of colonization was accelerated by1570 (Christopher Columbus Discovers America, 1492, 2004).

Hispanic immgrants in united states of america:

Spanish people entered United States during the process of immigration and added diversity of language and culture of the country. This contribution of Hispanic people in America has made them the most accepted group of immigrants in America. The greater concentration of Hispanic migrant is seen in New York, and the industrial areas of Midwest. The language of Hispanic people is Spanish which is retained by settlers of America in both written and oral forms. Spanish is spoken by a large proportion of people in American regions which has helped them in their assimilation process. Most of the Spanish speaking citizen came from Cuba, central and South American regions. They form the group of Latino, which is most commonly known as Hispanic group (Guisepi).

The early Spanish speakers had little knowledge of English but during process of Americanization they learnt new language to help their next generation in their assimilation in to American culture. Language learning was important for their survival in United States. The second and third generations of these people integrated completely in American environment because they did not experience language barriers as early Hispanic migrants did. This gradual assimilation of Hispanic group added new cultural and linguistic diversities in America. A variety of patterns of migration have been portrayed differently by various migrant authors. Many writers have written short stories capturing movement of people across shorter as well as over longer distances. Different authors have also reflected the issue of immigration in their poems and novels, which stresses upon the fact that the social issue of immigration is considered to be an important theme in modern literary work, both in fiction and non-fiction.

“There are many migrant writers across the Globe who are dealing with the current issues of migration in their work and build a strong connection between host and native countries through their writings. Such literary works carry a great deal of unique creation with varied themes and subject matter. The feeling of nostalgia that migrant writers feel for their native land is depicted in their work. They narrate real incidents which show their own longings and wishes for their own countries. There are many immigrant American writers who focus on all aspects of migration including assimilation, issues of identity and struggles in host countries for acceptance” (Bogomolny, 2007).

Biography and works of isabel allende

Isabel Allende is the most distinguished immigrant Latin American writer of modern times. She is considered to be a well acknowledged author in both English and Spanish literary circles. She is the representative of feminism in modern world of literature. Isabel Allende was born in Lima, Peru on 2nd August 1942. She belongs to a famous family with political background. She is the daughter of a Chilean representative, Thomas Allende. Her personal accounts and biographic work shows that her father was representative to Peru. Isabel Allende lived a difficult life in her early childhood, filled with domestic troubles, tensions and particularly deprived of fatherly affection since her father Thomas Allende disappeared in Lima (Peden M. S., 2003, p. 28). Her mother with her children lived for a few years in Chile till 1953. Later on, they moved to other places like

Bolivia and Lebanon. Isabel Allende also lived in Venezuela and finally moved to United States (Author Isabel Allende, 2011). The time span spent in Santiago transformed her life by putting in her heart a thirst for literature (Peden I. A., 1995). After doing her graduation, she married her first husband at an early age.

Allende had two children, one daughter named as Paula and her son Nicholas. Paula was born a year after her marriage but she died at the age of 28 in the year 1992 in California where Allende herself migrated after her second marriage. It was 1973 when her life completely changed because her uncle, Salvador Allende the president of Chile was assassinated she decided to move out of the native land.

The work of Isabel Allende includes novels and other writings like memoir which includes “My Invented country and “The Sum of our days” as well as her nostalgic account about her past “Paula” which is dedicated to her daughter’s memory. (Isabel Allende) Her novel” The House of the Spirits” was written in the year 1982 which was her first attempt of creative writing that she wrote because of her inspiration of dying grandfather back in her native land, Chile. After the success of her first novel she wrote” Of Love and Shadows”, and “Eva Luna'. She wrote novels from the perspective of women issues like

“Daughter of Fortune” and “Portrait in Sepia” (Biography of Isabel Allende, 1942, 1999). Isabel Allende herself has experienced the trauma of a migrant woman which is visible in her writings (Allende, My Invented Country, 2003, p. 132).


The hypothesis of the current research work is related to the exploration of theme of immigration in Isabel Allende’s fictional work. It deals with the question how Isabel Allende deals with the issue of immigration in her novels.

Objective of the research work

The objective of the work to identify, explore and communicate the various dimensions of intricate phenomenon of immigration presented by the modern emigrant American author Isabel Allende who shares her personal and first hand experience of an uprooted person in the new world of America. She finds herself neither true Chilean nor an American woman but a displaced woman of modern age. She presents the true and miserable side of the picture of emigrants and their various reasons which motivate them to leave their own homeland. She discusses in her novels the effects of the process of immigration upon immigrants. She takes in to account all the aspects of immigration including the dilemma of migrants in host country like America. The research work tries to identify the factors which promote the migration patterns of women and difficulties faced by them in new world where they have to adopt new ways for their survival.


The research work is delimited to two historical novels of Isabel Allende:

i) Daughter of Fortune
ii) Portrait in Sepia

Chapter 2: Literature Review

The literary section which offers the uprooted or displaced people the freedom to express their inner nostalgia and longing for homeland, which is the dominating theme in their literary writing, has expanded the scope of literature over the years. The complexity of life of emigrants has initiated the process of writing about the displacement faced by different authors across the world. The authors living in stranger communities focus on producing immigrant literature or migrant literature. The literature which is produced either by people, who have left their origin and adopted a new society to make a new beginning, or the literature written about the life of migrants, is called as migrant literature. The diverse cultural forms existing in both native land and the new one produce vibrant colors of passion, aspirations in the creative work produced by migrant authors. The chain of migration gives rise to different patterns of primary or secondary role of migrant people in different countries and writers do take in to account such patterns. Migrant literature deals with different the aspects of issue of migration. The literature of migration is produced by migrant authors belonging to diverse places and this diversity is reflected in their literary productions (Borghi, 2009).

It is quite a common observation that migrant authors mostly focus on theme of longings for motherland or the dominating theme could be the mixed feelings of being isolated person in the newly adopted country, where they have moved. The feeling of loss of one’s identity in migrant literature is also evident in modern literary writings. Migrant authors being sensitive feel the agony of separation from their roots. They cover a wide range of conflicts emerging as a result of their process of assimilation in new host country. They describe through their characters the process of assimilation of displaced people with the passage of time and show how successive immigrants’ generations adopt new culture of host society. They take in to their consideration the racial discrimination they face in strange land, the intense reaction that they receive on their arrival, the pain of adjustment in the new social setup, the agony of integration in to new environment, and the process of transformation as a result of adopting new identity in their literary work. The common themes reflected in literary work of migrant authors include themes of migration, cultural diversity and cultural clashes between host and native country (Amodeo, 2011). It means that the losses of cultural norms, the change in social system of a country are all important consideration of migrant literature. Other important themes of migrant literature are themes of assimilation, integration, discrimination and racism being faced by immigrants in host countries (Nicholaas, 2010).

Modern writers of Pakistan, who are living out of the borders and living the life as migrant authors, have produced great deal of fictional work to highlight the problems of immigrants. For instance, Nadeem Aslam is a British resident of a Pakistani origin who is a modern emigrant author. He has first hand experience of being an immigrant, as he lives in England since his childhood. “Maps for the lost lovers” is his novel that has received worldwide recognition for its theme and grand style. The novel “Maps for the Lost Lovers” is about Pakistani immigrants living in England. Through his novel, Nadeem Aslam presents different conflicts, cultural complexities, homesickness and sense of isolation of migrants who reside in wider social community of England. The novel is about representation of clashes between Asian traditional approach and the reaction of western world towards them. The central theme of novel revolves around the crises of Pakistani immigrants, their moral conflicts and their gradual process of assimilation among white people of England (Charles, 2005).

The emigrant literature provides a deep insight into cosmopolitan and dissolved cultural aspects of newly assimilated people in to society. Sui san Far is an American emigrant of Chinese origin who has first hand experience of migration. Sui San Far has tried to bridge the gap between European and Asians through her writings. Her short stories, fictional work and autobiographical accounts all reflect her personal ideas about the miseries of immigrants, particularly Chinese immigrant in United States. In one of her story the “Land of the free”, she depicts the panic situation faced by a Chinese family who fail to manage the official documents for their newly born baby and they have to hand over the baby to the custom and immigration officers. The panic condition of Chinese immigrants Hom Hing and his wife Lae Choo is depicted by San Sui Far in a realistic manner. Hom Hing, as a migrant realizes the indifferent attitude of American government towards Asian immigrants. The dream of living a better life in America is shattered that very moment when the baby was taken away from them (Thacker, 2011). Sui San Far tries to expose through her writing the reality behind shining world of States and sufferings of Chinese immigrant in realistic way. As Sui San Far states in her autobiographical essay,

“Older people pause and gaze upon us _very much in the same way that I have seen people gaze upon strange animals in a menagerie _ Now and then we are stopped and plied with question as to what to eat and drink_, how we go to sleep, if my mother understands what my father says to her_ if we sit on chairs or squat on floors etc, etc” ( (Eaton), 1909).

It proves the fact that migrant author depict in their writings the curious attitude of native people towards newly arrived immigrants. Sui San Far depicts in her work the reactions of native people of host countries who consider immigrants as inferior and alien group.

Another Afro American author, biographer and famous novelist is Alex Haley, (1921_ 1992), whose famous best-selling work is ROOTS, which earned him great fame all over the world. “ROOTS” presents the history of American generations, tracing back the origin back to the land, a familial line of decent of seven generations. Through the classical representation of Roots, Alex shows the agonizing condition of an enslaved African boy who suffers from identity crises and fights for his own rights, for his own place in American society (Singla, 2010). The story shows the heart rending, harsh and bitter realities of African immigrants in the highly developed state where no basic rights and provisions have been given to them, where they live like pet animals.

Modern writing about migratory processes includes the work of Monica Ali, a British resident, an eminent emigrant author who is well known for his famous novel “Brick Lane”. Monica Ali’s Brick Lane is proved to be highly acclaimed modern novel which is critically appreciated by all in the literary circle by experts. It presents peculiar presentation of Bangladeshi community living in Great Britain, the injustice they receive being a part of that isolated community and the dissatisfaction that becomes an essential ingredient of their living system.

Her novel explores the ways of living of emigrant women particularly as the story revolves around the protagonist character, Nazneen and the hostility that English people show towards them. Monica Ali also deals with the identity crises in multicultural London and the daunting process of assimilation in to the English society. Brick lane has complemented the historical connections between Bangladeshi community and English people. The protagonist of the novel Nazneen marries Chanu Ahmed, and consequently moves with him to London where she starts her life all over again. Nazneen moves with her to London where she has to start her life right from the very beginning. She forces herself to bring change in her life so that she could be accepted within the new social arena. The cultural clashes existing between the host and guest societies become visible as Nazneen moves through the lives of the Bangladeshi emigrants. Nazneen observes the struggles of immigrants who suffer from clashes within traditions and concept of modernization. Nazneen makes connection between her past and new life, trying to fully utilize her spiritual strength to take control over new life, pointed towards new dimensions and concerns. She passes through the transformation period which gives her strength to assimilate in the new world with new social norms and customs in the east London. The emotional conflicts of Bengali immigrants are depicted in the novel (Whipple, 2003).

One of the most famous and highly recognized Pakistani novelist and author Bapsi Sidhwa who is a migrant herself produced her work related to the immigration and the subsequent issues or concerns faced by emigrants. Her novel “ An American Brat’’ in 1994 specifically shows the cultural conflicts, the issue of accommodation, adjustment and the sense of deep patience that is needed by a Parse Pakistan emigrant girl who determine to make her settlements on American Soil. The novel is mottled with unique intellectual expression showing the dilemma, perplexity and diffused thoughts of a displaced girl among unidentified group of people. The experience of the protagonist of the novel and her encounter with a new world of America presents the bewilderment of an emigrant Pakistani girl who finds herself lost in new geographical location.

The central character of the novel is Feroza, teenager girl, who is born and raised up in Lahore. She is a representative of restrictive social environment where political influences are strong. The girl is made to leave the country by her mother for three months. She goes to America and resides with her uncle, who is an American immigrant himself. Feroza leaves the country and moves to the United States. This journey brings complete transformation of her life. Her exposure of the bigger world enables her to reflect back, and comprehend the complexities of life in two contrastive countries. The approach of her parents was the same, as they wanted her to travel and change her outlook towards life. The liberal and open environment of America brings change in her internal distinctiveness, freedom and individuality. Feroza becomes more independent in America. She sheds away her traditional way of living and behaving. She accepts the modern life free of restraints and shackles. She shocks her family when she decides to marry a Jewish boy, David Press. This disclosure of Feroza’s marriage shocks the Parsee family because the religious norms do not allow this marriage.

The novel focuses upon the central issue of immigrant in making decision about fundamental questions related to religion, culture, family and self. After reaching America, Feroza finds that the series of constraints which bounded her life in Pakistan are lost. She discovers the joy of finding the complete freedom in a new state. She deviates from the rules and regulations laid by the close knit Pakistani Parsee community to get complete freedom in a new state. She finds a new and real self in America. Feroza adopts certain American values and transforms after choosing those customs which suits her best. According to Kirkus Reviews, the protagonist of the novel “An American Brat” shows the dilemmas of those born in the third world who can flourish only in another. The cultural clashes between ethnic groups along with conflicts of religion between migrants living in America are also represented in the novel. The novel American Brat shows the cultural shock which is experienced by a Pakistani immigrant girl upon entering in the new world of United States (Hamdani, 2001).


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The topic of immigration in historical novels. An examination of "Daughter of Fortune" and "Portrait in Sepia" by Isabel Allende
National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad  (NUML)
Masters in English Literature and Linguistics
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Attiya Saghir (Author), 2011, The topic of immigration in historical novels. An examination of "Daughter of Fortune" and "Portrait in Sepia" by Isabel Allende, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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