“An Immigrant’s Split Personality” by Sun-Kyung Yi is an autobiographical essay. The author writes from the first-person point of view, and her outlook is completely retrospective. Even though the essay is relatively short, it has a certain structure and plot. Events and thoughts are presented in a definite order. This paper discusses the literary devices used in “An Immigrant’s Split Personality”.
We can differentiate between a kind of climax and denouement. I think a part of the essay where the heroine comes into conflict with her Korean colleagues is a climax. The author concludes that it is impossible to pretend that you are 100% Korean or 100% Canadian because you are different. The word “Korean-Canadian” is a recurring motif of the essay.
Moreover, the author compares and contrasts Korean and Canadian cultures. It is interesting to estimate the words used to describe these cultures. Canadian culture is associated with the words “chat”, “giggle”, “talk frankly”, and “be an individual” while talking about Korean culture Sun-Kyung Yi uses words like “bow” and “stare at my feet with my mouth shut”, “obedient”, and “submissive”.
Sun-Kyung Yi’s tone is serious and, at the same time, light, which makes the essay easy to read. She often uses irony: “my cooking skills were limited to boiling a package of instant noodles”, “they spent the following days trying to match me up with available bachelors in the company and the community”, etc. Moreover, the author employs metaphors (for example, “cultural schizophrenia”) and similes (“toying with the idea of entertaining two separate identities was a real treat, like a secret game”).
The main theme of this work is cross-cultural relations and the obstacles that may occur in such relations. Sun-Kyung Yi concludes that it is necessary to stop seeking cultural differences and estrange people with a cultural background that differs from ours. Only mutual understanding and the desire to take the best features of each culture could lead to friendship and harmonious coexistence. Probably, the feeling of sadness and solitude runs through the entire essay because Sun-Kyung Yi understands how far our world is from such understanding.
In conclusion, Sun-Kyung Yi uses various literary devices to promote the idea of multiculturalism and tolerance.
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