Confinement: How Strong National Identities Isolate Groups from One Another Where do you belong? This is a question that Pico Iyer attempts to answer for himself in his book The Global Soul. Iyer travels around the world because he feels like a “global soul.” He experiences the life of other people and observes how they feel about their country and cultural group. National identities create a sense of belonging for a group and Iyer doesn’t feel that safety like many other people and groups do. National identities are becoming more prominent within countries and cultural groups because the attachment to one’s group isolates them from belonging to and accepting other groups. The knowledge Iyer obtained while on his journey paved the way for him to find himself after his difficult childhood. When Iyer’s childhood house burst into flames, he found himself lost in the world. The conflagration spread quickly and Iyer watched his house turn into nothing. When the flames started, he grabbed his mother’s cat and left immediately. His fifteen years in that house were gone and he looked at himself as homeless. Iyer revels himself through what he makes of his own sense of dislocated self: “I acquired very early the sense of being loosed from time as much as from space--I had no history…” (Onion). This is when his idea of the “global soul” emerges. He explains the “global soul” to be a person who has grown up in many cultures and lives a life with different aspects of each culture. Also, a “global soul” can be someone who has a name that doesn’t identity with his or her nationality, which leaves a person confused (18). Iyer’s experiences as a child, including the burning of his house, taught him that the world is not united and, in fact, everyone is very isolated. A simple miscommunication can segregate a cultural group. Not only does this include a language barrier, but also it includes social norms of a country or culture. Iyer was told a story at the airport in...
Cited: Iyer, Pico. The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, and the Search for Home. New York: Knopf, 2000. Print.
Onion, Charlie. "WAG: Pico Iyer 's The Global Soul." WAG: Pico Iyer 's The Global Soul. N.p.,
May 2000. Web. 28 Sept. 2014.
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