The Transformation of Trans-Generational Identities to Trans-National


Trans-generational identity is the story of how our place in life affects the perception of who we are. What we have experienced throughout our lifetime and how we view the world and those in it also contribute to this dynamic sense of self. This idea is seen in Le Grand Voyage, a film about a father and son who travel to Mecca from France. The son, Réda, reluctantly agrees to drive his father to Mecca for his pilgrimage that is a pillar of the Islamic faith.

Réda and his father in Le Grand Voyage

Throughout their journey, you can see the strain and tension between these two men as they realize there is so much that sets them apart, and a large portion of it is trans-generational. As the film progresses, the juxtaposition of Réda’s generation and his father’s becomes more apparent, and the generational gap seems to create a greater divide between the two. With time, however, the father and son begin reconciling their broken relationship and Réda learns the values of Islam from his father before it is too late. This process of relational reconciliation is one concept that is central to Islam.

While trans-generational identities greatly affect who we are, they are not a static state of being. I have learned in this class that every interaction we have and place we travel is yet another thread woven into the fabric of our being. We are constantly weaving our trans-generational identity, and when interacting with other cultures, we are indeed weaving our trans-national identity as well. These two identities are intertwined, and there is a relationship seen between them in Le Grande Voyage. I argue that the trans-generational gap between Réda and his father is so severe that it surpasses generations and begins to morph into a trans-national divide. There is such a disconnect between Réda and his father that it appears they have different national identities. This is the most profound idea I have learned in the class: our trans-national identities are always subject to change; everything around us and everything that we experience contributes to our trans-national identity, and this is a thing of beauty.


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