Non Belonging In A Foreign Country: Geese Perspective Essay

Write about the main character’s behavior; ‘watching bird migrations from his apartment


Julius keeps trying to escape from the reality and struggles of life he goes through by always talking a walk without an objective and at the same time his mind keeps wandering between places and times he goes through. This reflects his fugueur aspect. His regularly pointless walk is triggered by his emotions of non-belonging in a foreign country after migrating from Africa. This is an irony of what he expected in the United States. He usually takes an aimless walk in search of someone to interact with since his new place of the resident is unfriendly. The hope of migrating to the U.S and meeting new friends is cut short because no one cares about a personal relationship with other individuals. This is a clear indication of how migration can be attractive but in a real sense, it has other negative issues.

Julius looks at New York City from the geese perspective; ‘I doubted in some part of myself whether these birds, with their dark wings and throats, their pale bodies and tireless little hearts, really did exist. So amazed was I by them that I couldn’t trust my memory when they weren’t there’ (4). This explains something different more than birds. This part is vital since memory is presented in this book. This shows how the book is important in that the book reveals how the past affects the reader’s comprehension of the past events.

The novel’s main character Julius walks around New York is looked upon as aimless. This is irony to what took him to United States (U.S) for studies. It seems Julius is in the U.S without an objective which contradicts what took him to states. ‘Not long ago before this aimless wandering began, I had fallen into the habit of watching bird migrations from my apartment, I wonder now if the two are connected’, is a clear indication that Julius had no meaningful point of talking a walking just like the birds flying over the sky without any point of destination. After leaving Nigeria to further his studies in the U.S, he seems to have put in the past what purposely took him there. This is irony for his migrating reasons to America.

The opening part in the novel states about the new profound habit in the main character’s behavior; ‘watching bird migrations from his apartment’ and at the same time listening to ‘internet stations from Canada, Germany, or the Netherlands’ (page 3), and studying books from foreign language setting; activities that often seem to seamlessly morph into sleep (4). All these remarkable activities of migratory life exhibit Julius’s qualified imagination. Julius compares himself in his sparse apartment and the ‘radio host or her booth’, these ‘disengaged bodies’ remained engaged, with the apparition of migrating geese; reading aloud, he notes that he gave voice to another’s words (3). Such situation translates to the strict regulations, improvements, and proficiency indicating the contingent of the late night walks assists to present Julius’s life in an amicable and polyphonic whole. This reflects the criticism made in aesthetic pseudo-solutions enabling the reader to be limited to sociopolitical divisions.

The novel further reflects the amicable suspension as it defines the relationship between Julius’s reading voice described as ‘sonic fugue’ and the voices from internet radio. Julius’s voice is defined as mingling with the murmur of the radio; reflecting the walks he makes every evening as decisive as ‘monotony’ (4). The tone presented in this part is exposed as indifferent from the monotone that condenses all the distinction from cosmopolitan connectedness.

The ‘psychiatry’ used in the novel comes from the word psychiatria meaning ‘healing of the soul’. This word reflects the situation in Julius’s mind. It is about a soul that is struggling to heal from his past scars before migrating to U.S. Julius tries to forget his past life by going to America to heal his soul.

The migration of Julius to the United States shows how the world has become globalized. Furthermore, globalization is also reflected when Julius is listening to internet radio from Germany, France, and the Netherlands. The modern world is currently in such state that people can travel around with ease and even listen to international radio stations. It shows how people move from one country to another for different reasons, such as studying, seeking employment, living, vacations and even living in these countries. Today America is full of foreigners from different continents that include Asians, Africans, and Europeans. The book demonstrates that even though there is migration all over the world, people are still connected with their original homelands; ‘those disembodied voices remain connected in my mind, even now, with the apparition of migrating geese (4).

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