Mauricio D. Aguilera-Linde
December 1, 2016
Among the stories included in Little Children (1937), “Around the World with General Grant” proves to be particularly revealing of Saroyan’s double consciousness. By juxtaposing the master narrative of President Ulysses S. Grant’s global tour and the petit récit of the family’s exile, the narrator composes a liminal narrative that pits the assimilationist thrust of the national pedagogy (epitomized by the travelog’s imperial vision) against the child’s performative ability to fracture the homogeneous time of the host nation through his allusions to his father’s exodus. The result is a serious erosion of the metaphor of two worlds of American exceptionalism. In addition to Bhabha’s concept of cultural liminality, this article also explores the role of cultural memory and communicative memory in the travel binaries that constantly merge and collide with each other throughout the story.