Writing the Home: Charles Reis Felix’s Autobiography and its Negotiation of Domestic Place and Space

  • Carmen Ramos Villar University of Sheffield
Keywords: immigrant, ethnic, practices, Portuguese American, autobiography


 This essay explores how Charles Reis Felix’s autobiography, Through a Portagee
(2004), examines everyday practices within the Portuguese American domestic space. The analysis also explores the interaction of the domestic setting with elements outside of this space. In so doing, the essay examines how the description of the domestic space in Felix’s autobiography uncovers the unconscious construction, and negotiation, of place. Within this game of negotiating place, space, culture and identity, the essay explores how the domestic space in Felix’s autobiography represents a site where the daily interaction between the public and the private, and ultimately between societies, occurs. Exclusionary notions inherent within the ethnic discourse in the United States are highlighted by reading Felix’s text through the ethnic signs (Boelhower, Immigrant Autobiography) it generates. In so doing, the essay questions the validity and implications of taking a critical approach that centres on Felix’s autobiography being an ethnic text.