In search of a suitable home or the perpetual minority status. Herta Müller's case
Adrian Stoicescu (University of Bucharest)
Paper short abstract:
The paper reads Müller's works as stemming from a quite particular status, that of constant minority: ethnic - being a German in Romania - political - opposing the communist regime and being allowed to leave the country - and foreign German in Germany and from the constant struggle to belong.
Paper long abstract:
A part of the Swabian community, a German minority from Romania, Müller appears to be constantly challenged by the utmost feeling of inability to integrate. First, her native village displays a cultural life she can hardly fit in. After leaving the village, she finds a world in which, continually surveilled and harassed by the Securitate, the former political police, she becomes a part of a new minority, that of people who do not make the pact of silent obedience to the regime. Deciding to leave the country and settle in Germany, she joins a new kind minority made of those lucky enough to flee communism. What happens basically, her journeys, either pictured by her novels characters or recomposed by her essays, are a constant struggle to escape a reality she cannot cope with. And when finally reaching the destination, she finds herself again in the position of the minority, of Germans from abroad this time. Recomposing this path, her work may be read as a quest to find suitable belonging against the setting of a perpetual minority status showing the inability of staying in a country as ethnic minority, the struggle of moving away, escaping from group of political minority, and finally the torment of settling in back home as member a new kind of minority.
Roots, routes and rhizomes: narratives of staying, moving and settling in literature