What is the theme of The Road from Home?

The theme of The Road from Home is the relationship between resilience and violent oppression. David Kherdian shows that the Armenian people have survived despite the Turkish massacres and subsequent repression. Although their numbers were greatly reduced, the memory of their resistance and suffering helped strengthen the survivors and descendants. By focusing on Dumehjian, a fictionalized version of his mother, the author vividly brings this theme to life.

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The main theme of The Road from Home is the close relationship between a people’s resilience and the violent oppression that they and their ancestors have endured. Author David Kherdian focuses on the Armenian people’s travails in the first two decades of the twentieth century. He brings these difficulties to life by focusing on one female character, Dumehjian, who is based on his own mother. The author conveys that Armenians continued to believe in the importance of their shared identity, which enabled them to endure discrimination and exclusion from broader society. Within specific periods, social and political discrimination escalated into widespread violent attacks and then into policies that promoted genocide, or total eradication, of the Armenian people.

For survivors in the aftermath of devastation, retaining a sense of collective identity was both more difficult and more crucial. For Dumehjian and many others, remaining in their former homeland was no longer possible. Kherdian shows that “home,” as a concept that unites people, not only can endure, but also can take on greater significance in exile, precisely because they are far from that physical place. In the United States, Dumehjian was challenged to holding onto that sense of belonging but retained an optimistic outlook that influenced her son.

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