Never to return: migration and old age in Venezis’s “The State of Virginia”
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This paper discusses Ilias Venezis’s short story “The State of Virginia” with special emphasis on the themes of migration and old age. Published in 1954, in the aftermath of WWII and the Greek Civil War, “The State of Virginia” captures the drama of an elderly woman victim of the Asia Minor Catastrophe, as she is migrating to Virginia, U.S.A. after thirty years of temporary residence in a refugee village in rural Attica. My analysis focuses on the protagonist’s reluctant migration as it emerges from the farewell scene between her and her life-long friend; their conversation on the irreversibility of their separation, the challenges facing elderly migrants, and the significance of native soil voices an insightful discourse on belonging and rootedness that transcends many socio-temporal limits.