Travel, Consciousness Change and Biography: A Parallel Reading of Che’s Transformative Biographical Narratives and Those of the American College Students

By YiShan Lea.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

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The study selected particular narratives for analysis by considering questions such as, “What types of experiences are recounted that resonate across the narratives on emerging self-identity? Is there an account of the self and other relation or interactive dynamics between the self and the experience? How is the ‘self’ revealed in the biographical narrative? Is there a renewed subjectivity due to the experiences described or an apparent reorganization of objectivities? What actions or perceptions are driven by the experiences described?” Ten of the 22 student narratives were selected according to the above considerations. Seven of the 22 students described travels to another country in their autobiographical narratives. According to the selected narratives, travel is a popular way to acquire experience.
Che’s symbolic image as a rebel, an adventurer, and a dreamer demonstrates the popular appeal of his life story of self-discovery, self-identity, authenticity, and consistency. Reading student narratives alongside Che’s writings as texts that made and changed history revealed a set of generative themes that were common to both sets of writings, notwithstanding the obvious temporal and contextual differences. The thematic universe that characterizes the “quality experience,” paving the way for transformation in this investigation, will be discussed with reference to the themes “life as travel,” “solitude,” “inter-subjectivity,” and “solidarity.”

Keywords: Popular Cultural Genres, Travel Narratives/diaries, Che Guevara

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp.11-21. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 332.806KB).

Dr. YiShan Lea

Assistant Professor, Bilingual Education & TESL Program, Central Washington University, U.S.A., Ellensburg, WA, USA