ANG 160 Fall 2005
by Sanela Osmanagic
the immigrants experience through "Dancing" by Neil Bissoondath
reminded me of my own immigrant experience. Even though "Dancing" is a
fiction it could represent the true story of many immigrants, because immigrants
stories are very similar in spite of background or previous education. Most
people cannot continue to practise their profession when they came to Canada so
they feel the same professional and existential desperation when they cross the
There are three points in the story that
explains why it seems that all immigrants were born under the same star:
the images of dislocation: "I start feeling dizzy-dizzy. Everything look so
cloudy-cloudy…It was almost like looking at a film in a cinema"(Bissoondath,
302). We see the example of out of body experience and alienation. I also felt
dizzy when I was standing at the Toronto airport, even though I did not wonder
how to open the door. Lucky me. But it was my first flying experience that took
about eight hours, and I was exhausted, and scared. However, I was excited too,
and I was prepared for this experience. I did not think that it was adventurous
either, but it was a beginning.
the nostalgia for the home and regrets for leaving it: "I kept looking in
the mirror and asking myself what the hell I was doing in this country" (Bissoondath,
309). I remember speaking with an immigrant from Iran ,who came to Canada with
her teenage daughter, who told me that they both cried every day for one year
after they arrived.
I thought that maybe that was a little bit exaggerated, but even the fact that
somebody would say that was very surprising.
last one is the question "Maybe we should go back home?" (Bissoondath,
313).That is like an aureole over the immigrants head. I was having the internal
dispute with myself about this question for a very long time when I first came
to Canada. Looking at it now I do not consider it very constructive and rational
behaviour, because it just gives you a false feeling of hope that you still have
place to return to, and in the same time stops you from integrating into a new
country. But if during your process of integration you have to deal with for
example racism, you cannot but wonder, maybe I would be better off if I go home,
because in either situation you do not feel safe.
Now, I consider Canada my home, my new home. It is not perfect, but it is a home. It helps me to escape the trap of becoming racist myself.
Bissoondath, Neil. "Dancing"
Photocopies: Intercultural Studies (ANG 160).