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Afakasi / half-caste

Hali F Sofala-Jones, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Afakasi : Half-Caste is a manuscript of poems exploring the complicated nature of negotiating cultural identity. Echoing the traditional form of the bildungsroman, the poems chronicle a journey of understanding the self in relation to cultural exile in which the speaker is cut off from the Samoan language, traditions, motherland, and people that represent half of her ancestry; comparatively, the land of her birth, America, specifically the American South, feels at times as foreign and unwelcoming as the one from which she is separated, which results in a sense of isolation borne from feeling as if she belongs nowhere, is claimed by and can claim no place as home. Poems also chronicle the speaker's relationship to her family—as eldest daughter, protective sister, apprehensive wife, and hesitant mother—and illustrate how interactions with the various characters in the poems influence her understanding of self. Several poems reflect on the body and the ways in which the speaker does not adhere to the expectations of her gender or the socially accepted idea of what constitutes beauty and femininity. The speaker of these poems is essentially in search of a place to belong, and the exploration of her histories is a way to narrate, confront, and process past traumas so to move beyond them. Ultimately, the poems capture the speaker’s journey towards acceptance of the self and the act of claiming a home where the she finally feels free to thrive. My goal for Afakasi : Half-Caste is to explore my history as it pertains to my ancestral homelands, my family, my body, and my chosen home, and in so doing represent a journey towards self-acceptance, belonging, and reconciliation.

Subject Area

Creative writing

Recommended Citation

Sofala-Jones, Hali F, "Afakasi / half-caste" (2016). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10144134.