"Clothes” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Essay

954 Words May 26th, 2008 4 Pages
The short store “Clothes” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is about a young Indian woman, Sumita, and her cultural transition to America that is symbolized by her clothes and the color of her clothes. The traditional Indian attire for a woman is a sari and each one has its own purpose. Her clothes also indicate her progression from daughter, to wife, to woman.
The story starts off with the bride to be in a yellow sari preparing to meet her future husband by bathing in a lake. She describes the yellow sari as a sunflower after rain. Yellow here could possible signify new times to come or peace. The bath she was taking is relaxing her to the idea that she is about to marry a man she has not even met, as well as the thought of losing her
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[talk about Indian tradition and beliefs about Indian women becoming Americanized]
In some countries white signifies purity and cleanliness. In others it is the color of royalty or deities. Sumita’s husband owns a 7-11 store in California. He is constantly having to work the night shift to try to earn extra money so that they can move out on their own. One night he is held at gun point and shot to death. To mourn his death Sumita wears a white sari.
During the mourning of his death they perform a bangle breaking ceremony. [talk about the ceremony and what It means] They break the bangles that are on Sumita’s arm and send multi-colored shards flying all over the room and on the sheet that her husband lies under. The multi-colored shards might represent the fact that right now her life has shattered like the bracelets and she is scattered in a place that she is not familier with.
You can now tell that Sumita has become pretty Americanized compared to when she first arrived in the United States. For instance, she is talking about getting an education and working in a school teaching in front of a classroom of blond kids in her cream-and-brown American dress. She is beginning to make more decisions on her own and step away from her beliefs. Here the color cream and the color brown are making her feel more americanized. If you are to go back a few paragraphs when her husband first bought the skirt and
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