The second part can be regarded as a North American miscellany, mostly devoted to the African culture, although also dealing with European heritage. In order to recognise Asian and South American influences as well, authors such as Fred Wah, Ariel Dorfman and Julia Alvarez have been included. Black literature is represented by two 19th century writers, Mary Ann Shadd and Martin R. Delany, who remind us of the fight against slavery and segregation and the path to equality. Various 20th century writers (Toni Morrison, Ernest Gaines, Harryatte Mullen, August Wilson) address the African-Americans’ quest for identity, presented by some as a journey southwards, away from the place of birth or an unsatisfactory life and in search of self-knowledge in the land of their forefathers. These journeys provide materials for different genres and tones, enabling readers to examine the aspirations and fears of a community whose contribution to the history and literature of America has stimulated continuous study.
The two parts of the book are connected by the underlying discussion of essential conflicts that have occupied “travellers” traversing imperial spaces or experiencing foreign lands as well as “travellers” who, instead of exotic adventures or romantic sojourns, want to settle in a “new” country, be accepted by a nation their ancestors did not know, or exercise rights they were denied on their native soil.