Ironically Dorfman by the definition of his parents comes from a balanced combination of experiences that allow him to see both takes on the formation of identity that exists between immigrants, however; he is more complicated because he brings his own experiences to his work. As McClennen writes:

So, while it may seem that Heading South, Looking North suggests a bicultural identity, a binary between north and south, culturally Dorfman is far more hybrid: he is North and South American, Jewish, thrice exiled, a survivor of trauma, and a writer well-versed in world literature. What is the most vexing for the scholar of his work, though, is that he draws on these multiple cultural influences throughout his text, while also, still, reinforcing the notion that dualities, especially that of north versus south, English versus Spanish, hold particular identitarian purchase. (McClennen 173)

Dorfman possesses life experiences that define him as a hybrid person between North and South America but his religion, traumatic experiences, historical family exile and scholarly qualities. McClennen sees this diversity within Dorfman as problematic to scholars who aim to study a dichotomy when looking at hyphenated American’s and their literary works. Though Dorfman is a diverse man his works have the ability to highlight all of his listed diversities as if they are the central defining factor in his identity. Identitatian ideas suggest that a formation of one’s own identity is off the basis of cultural experiences and forces. Dorfman’s work highlights the problems created by cultural forces that drive the immigrant experience towards positivity or negativity. Essentially Dorfman’s ability to portray polar conditions while explaining the cross cutting complexities of variation allow the reader greater understanding of the immigrant experience in finding his or her new life and forging the path to hyphenated identity.

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