The Immigrant Ship as the Symbol of Intermediate Existence Cover Image

A kivándorlóhajó mint a köztes lét szimbóluma
The Immigrant Ship as the Symbol of Intermediate Existence

Author(s): Magda Ajtay-Horváth
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Studies of Literature
Published by: Scientia
Keywords: immigration; assimilation; identity loss; language shift;
Summary/Abstract: The causes and consequences of the Hungarian emigration to the United States at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries offer a rich field of investigation for various disciplines. The integration of the sociological, statistical, political, and literary aspects provides a productive approach to study the complex phenomenon of immigration. The immigrant ship both in concrete and in metaphorical sense can be regarded as a dynamic intermediate space linking the old country and the desired new one representing the cross-section of the emigrant society with its typical and atypical characters. The work of Sándor Tonelli, a journalist, provides an authentic picture of the twenty-three-day voyage of an immigrant ship from Fiume to New York. During the transatlantic voyage, the passengers not only get further and further away from their native country in space, but the voyage is also the starting-point of a painful process that finally concludes in identity loss and language shift. The parallel study of the different issues linked to the transatlantic migration proves that the themes and motifs occurring in Kaliforniai fürj [Californian Quail], a contemporary Hungarian novel, a family saga written by Imre Oravecz, coincide with the problems studied by sociologists, linguists, and psychologists, and thus the form of the novel is suitable to present to a larger reading public the theme of immigration and the different stages of assimilation as an inevitable consequence.

  • Page Range: 27-44
  • Page Count: 18
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Language: Hungarian