Cultural Identity Crisis inside Self-Same Culture as Reflected in György Lőrincz’s Novel Sounds of the Heart

Erzsébet Dani 1
  • 1 University of Debrecen (Debrecen, Hungary) Department of Library and Information Science, , Debrecen, Hungary

Abstract

After the decisive historical moment of December 1989, the “border” is open for Transylvanian Hungarians and, in the subsequent euphoria, an exodus to the mother country commences. But with the political freedom of crossing national borders, due to globalization (too), new kinds of border problems present themselves for the youth leaving their native land: border issues of small versus large community, of interpersonal relations; the gap between generations; borders between majority versus minority identity and national versus cultural identity as well. This paper is a literary analysis with special focus on contemporary social phenomena, which will examine - through discussing a relevant contemporary Székely-Hungarian novel - how cultural identity can be deformed, damaged, or at least temporarily distorted when a Hungarian from beyond the border, who arrives in mother-country Hungary, will have to redefine herself/himself within a culture which, in this case, is basically one and the same.1 Can the identity-code, which was formed by, and grew strong in, the minority existence of the native land, function when s/he enters a cultural vacuum which turns out or can turn out to be another cultural maze for her or him? Can we talk about assimilation in such cases? What happens when a “rebellious” young individual’s “I” identity, unsteady in the first place, is left without the conserving and protective “We” identity in the confrontation of mother-nation versus beyond-the-border cultures so that, eventually, the young woman’s “I” identity will be damaged by big-city underworld (sub)culture. Or, will cultural mimicry emerge in this situation too as a strategy to help the individual retain his/her identity? We will seek answers to these questions through discussing a novel - A szív hangjai [Sounds of the Heart] - by a fine representative of contemporary Székely-Hungarian literature, György Lőrincz.

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