Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Myths of the Underworld in Contemporary CultureThe Backward Gaze$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Judith Fletcher

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198767091

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767091.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 December 2020

The Wanderer’s Descent

The Wanderer’s Descent

The Underworlds of Diaspora

(p.147) 4 The Wanderer’s Descent
Myths of the Underworld in Contemporary Culture

Judith Fletcher

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 outlines how a descent to the underworld can symbolize experiences of diasporic populations, including refugees, enslaved peoples, exiles, and immigrants. An African-American man in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon experiences an Odyssean Nekyia, and connects with his family’s past. Amy Bloom’s Away makes parallels between the story of a Jewish refugee to America and the myth of Demeter and Persephone. Rushdie’s The Ground Beneath Her Feet features Orpheus as a rock star whose descent is structured as a passage from India to America. Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder refers to the Orpheus story to address issues of deracination, but also suggests deeper intertexts that invite a critique of corporate plundering of the Amazon. With deliberate citations of ancient texts, these authors exploit the dialectic between home and the underworld to explore issues of diaspora, immigration, exile, assimilation, and nostalgia.

Keywords:   Song of Solomon, Salman Rushdie, underworld as diaspora, State of Wonder, Ann Patchett, Toni Morrison, Amy Bloom, underworld adaptation

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .