Anglia Ruskin University
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A Novel, Pounds of Flesh, and a Critical Commentary

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posted on 2023-08-30, 19:57 authored by Mayowa P. Saja
This study combines the writing of a novel, Pounds of Flesh, and a critical commentary on the novel. The narrative covers the experiences of West African migrant characters who leave home in search of better standards of living. It presents the dynamics of leaving home through the exploration of historical, socio-cultural and economic prisms of migration, a topical and controversial issue in contemporary social discourse. To theorise and contextualise the novel, I found an appropriate tool in Sigmund Freud’s notion of the uncanny. However, this concept is vast and imbricating, hence, I have limited myself to the uncanny motifs of ‘home’ and the ‘unhomely.’ The ambiguity and complexity of these terms, however, also touch on the issues of identity, another multivalent concept. To streamline these, I draw on my own experience as a 21st century transnational migrant, and a third-generation Nigerian writer. Through the narrative of migrants’ experiences interpolated by their points of view in Pounds of Flesh, the uncanniness in the migrant’s quest - fears, uncertainties, estrangement, homesickness, loneliness, the insatiate yearnings, and confusion - is identified. While avoiding the portrayal of the quest for ‘home’ as futile, I argue through the experiences of the migrant characters in Pounds of Flesh, that identifying ‘home’ and being at home are steeped in ambiguity and complexity, making the search for home unending.



Anglia Ruskin University

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