A Wife's Story

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In "A Wife's Story" written by Bharati Mukherjee, the narrator is an Indian woman named Panna who has left India to get a Ph. D. in special education in Manhattan. The story illustrates the relationship between Panna and her match-made husband who has come to visit her in Manhattan. Panna is drifting away from her husband because of the cultural changes she is going through. She has changed and he has not, thus the gap between them widens. My own marriage is not through match-making, and yet it has come to an end due to all kinds of differences that cannot be reconciled. As husband and wife, Panna does understand him to a certain extent. Just by listening to his voice over the phone she can already figure out how he looks while he is…show more content…
While he remains the traditional Indian husband, she has changed much. In my case, my husband and I become more distant as our difference become more prominent over the years. First of all, Panna has started to assimilate into the American culture. She hugs Imre, a male friend, on the street, and they walk arm in arm to the bus stop. She is sure that her husband "would never dance or hug a woman on Broadway" (467) because he "[has] a well-developed sense of what's silly" (467). Hugging a friend of the opposite sex, a normal social gesture in America is considered "silly" by an Indian! In Panna's case, she clearly thinks of it as a social gesture now, just like the Americans. Even her vocabulary is so American now. She uses the word "trucks" (470) instead of "lorries" (470); and when her husband says "wardrobe" (471), she knows that is what the Americans call "garment bag" (471). What I experience is not the cultural difference due to assimilation into another culture. Rather, it is the difference that exists since the beginning. My husband goes through the public school system in Malaysia and does not learn Chinese. On the other hand, I attend Chinese elementary school and hold on to my Chinese culture and value. He scorns and calls me "old-fashioned" and "conservative", saying that it is common for his girlfriend to send intimate electronic messages like "miss you very much, my dear" to him and that it is absolutely "all
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