Memories Of My Ghost Brother Language Analysis

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Language or spirituality cannot express one’s identity if they are used in the way which has been learned by only imitating others and thus cannot be used as a tool of self-actualization. People want to express their identities in many ways. It is easy to see how different styles to dress express different identities. Language can also be used to express one’s identity as effectively as clothing but it is difficult to use any language that well, therefore language is many times used only as a tool of communication and not as a tool of expressing identities. English language works as lingua franca – generally used language for communication - between people of different native languages and backgrounds. The biggest religion
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As a child of Korean mother and German-American father, Insu is in the middle of two different languages. The narrator has two voices: one is the child who experiences the everyday life and another expresses the complex, spiritual experiences. The latter is the voice of grown-up Insu. At the beginning of the book, Insu wants to imitate his father as he wants to become a GI (Fenkl 19). Young Insu is creating his identity by imitation. Insu’s identity grows up throughout the book. At the end of the book he realizes that his father’s religion is not his own (Fenkl 241). Rejection of his father’s religion shows that Insu’s identity has become unique in a way that his experiences cannot be transmitted through the spiritual lingua franca, Christianity which is his father’s religion. He understands that the religion would not be his own because he would have learned it only by imitating his father. “My father’s religion wallowed in stories and pictures of tragedy and suffering, but it could not heal what happened every day outside the gates of the U.S. Army post.” (Fenkl 241) The Bible tells stories as tragic as the stories from Insu’s life. The spiritual language of Christianity can work as a tool to communicate the sorrow in lives even in Korea. However, it cannot “heal” Insu’s sorrow. Insu finds his own unusual spiritual language through ghost stories to discuss about his uncommon experiences. This is Insu’s “new English” that he can use to deal with his tragic experiences. Using this language makes him able to accept even the worst things that has happened to
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