Hofman In Nepantla Theory

Hofman In Nepantla Theory


Hofman description of herself fits properly in the theory of Nepanthla. This is a situation of being at the “ borderland” . It is the inability for one to take a certain identity amidst other groups of people. Therefore, they are referred to be at the threshold because of their tendency to be at a conflicting world. They align themselves with none. This is a common trend with the people of colour in America and Britain where there is large number of immigrants making a multicultural society. Hofman represents such people with her inability to establish herself as either English or a Polish. She is often confused as to whether appreciate what her friends do or to keep them off. The fact is that she cannot avoid them and their behaviours. She is left to wonder whether to go with them    for a dance or not. She is seen in this state many times.

Hofman in Nepanthla Theory

The story of Hofman introduces with description of her childhood experiences. She is of Polish origin living in England. She finds herself under a challenge among the English children counterparts. For example when the rest of the children ask her why she doesn’t want to join them, and she forces herself into their game. Despite her efforts to fit she finds it too hard. This is mainly because she has to translate her words from polish to English. This behaviour of Hofman is explained in terms of people at the borderland trying to do things that will make them fit in a new community. They have to engage in values of the other even though they feel that they don’t like them.

Hofman is living between the English and the polish culture. She experiences the English culture beyond her home as the Polish culture in her home. Her father communicates to her in Polish. They also engage in Polish values back in their home.   Generally, she’s able to practice two cultures simultaneously. There is a problem because this is not what should be happening under natural circumstances. The worst is in regard to the superiority complex of the white culture and inferiority of the other and in this case the Polish culture. This is the way she is treated by her age mates both at childhood and adolescent. She explains how she finds a problem of communicating because she is  not consistent in English. She found herself struggling to form a sentence.  Hofman prefers to stay silent than talk and embarrass herself. She states that even when she sees jokes and ironies, she pretends like she has not seen them   . She doesn’t know the slang   and to her she would rather show self control which represents the real mastery.

Hofman’s behaviour of existence in two worlds is seen more clearly in the writing of her diary. This is where she offers her personality as a Nepantla. She is given the diary by penny as her birthday present. She is happy because it has a key and a lock to make sure that no one can access. Not because the confidential information she kept in but because of the idea that this is where she would express her second personality. This was the private identity which she knew many of her peers did not appreciate.  However, the arrival of the diary creates a situation of confusion for Hofman. This is in terms of her identity, something that is represented by the issue of language. She gets into a dilemma as to which language she should use to express herself on the very important issues of her life. She feels like Polish is the most immediate language which is easy to use especially for what she refers to as untranslatable past.  At this point Hofman exhibits a characteristic of a person who is   reconfiguring her identity. She is thinking about herself at a very young age during her birth stage. At this time she took an identity of a Polish which she really adores.

This period during which Hofman has not identified her true identity is painful. It is clear that she is confused and in a chaotic state.  She is actually hurt as seen in the whole story whereby she seems to be complaining.  This is a characteristic of Nepantla’s state. She is keeping on reflecting on her life and wondering   which perspective to take. She‘s got two cultural identities both   Polish and English. It is difficult to identify which of the two is her true person . She has to resolve this and make her final selection. It is easy to conclude that she selects English by the fact that this is the language she uses about her present. Nonetheless, it is odd that she does not want to fully accept that this is herself that she is describing. She uses “she” rather than “I”.


In conclusion, Hofman description of her life from childhood to adolescence provides an example of a Nepantla. She is a girl torn in between two cultures which is Polish and English. She stands at the borderland not identifying herself fully with either of them. Basically, she’ll use in a dilemma conflicts and confusion. She is in conflict with the acts of her peers and she finds herself always reflecting on her life. This is especially evident during the writing of her diary. At this time she is a waste of herself because of her tendency to take the Siamese twin identity through the interchanging of the reference to herself using the words “she” and “you”.  Hofman is among the group of people who are lucky to live in more than one world. However, they suffer from rejection from the people they live within a multicultural society. For instance one may be a Briton but an Arab and a Muslim. This is different from the majority population who are Britons, English and Christians. The earlier is likely to suffer from inferiority complex.

Works Cited

All Rights Reserved, Essaysland.com