Every individual, no matter who they are, will all face challenges that result from their backgrounds and cultures. Born in Calcutta, India and later moving to the United States, Amin Ahmad was an individual who discovered this harsh truth first-hand. In his essay, “I Belong Here,” Ahmad reflects on his experience of being treated differently from those around him based off his cultural background. He analyzes the emotional barrier that forms between the journey of immigration and the continuous feeling of inferiority based solely on the desire to belong. The article is written to provide a different point of view; one focused on introducing to the world the challenges and emotions immigrants face after starting the journey towards a new life.
Every individual, no matter who they are, will all face challenges that result from their backgrounds and cultures. Born in Calcutta, India and later moving to the United States, Amin Ahmad was an individual who discovered this harsh truth firsthand. In his essay, “I Belong Here,” Ahmad reflects on his experience of being treated differently from those around him based off his cultural background. He analyses the emotional barrier that forms between the journey of immigration and the continuous feeling of inferiority based solely on the desire to belong. The article is written to provide a different point of view; one focused on introducing to the world the challenges and emotions immigrants face after starting the journey towards a new life.
A person’s heritage and cultural identity may be lost when moving to a new country where the culture is different and other cultures are not easily accepted. In the short story “Hindus”, Bharati Mukherjee uses setting, characters and the plot to discuss what it is like to lose your cultural identity while being a visible minority in America. Mukherjee uses the plot to describe the events that take place in the main characters life that lead her to realize how different the culture and life is in the America’s. She also uses the characters as a way of demonstrating how moving away from one’s culture and heritage can change a person’s perspective and ways of thinking. Mukerjee also uses setting in her story to identity the physical differences in culture between living in India and America. Alike the setting and characters, the plot helps describe the loss of culture with a sequence of events.
This book depicts the national and cultural status of the immigrant mother, who is able to preserve the traditions of her Indian heritage that connect her to her homeland. Ensuring a successful future for her American-born children is coordinated with the privilege of being an American citizen. Ashima yearns for her homeland and her family that she left behind when
Immigrants’ refusal to appreciate a fused culture promotes division. Mukherjee questions the idea of immigrants losing their culture for American ideals: “Parents express rage or despair at their U.S.-born children's forgetting of, or indifference to, some aspects of Indian culture,” to that Mukherjee asks, “Is it so terrible that our children are discovering or are inventing homelands for themselves?” (Mukherjee, 1997, para. 28). Many immigrants experience anger when their children no longer hold the ideals of their home country. This tension produced within the household hinders the unity within a resident country’s culture and encourages division within families. Using herself as an example, Mukherjee provides another instance of anger directed at her from her own subculture: “They direct their rage at me because, by becoming a U.S.
“conflict occurring between individuals or social groups that separated by cultural boundaries can be considered “cross-cultural conflict.” But individuals, even in the same society, are potentially members of many different groups, organized in different ways by different criteria” (Avruvh, 1998, p.6).
A person has always been able to choose to what extent their cultural experiences affect their perspective. Amy Tan’s, “Two Kinds,” Bharati Mukherjee’s, “Two Ways to Belong in America,” and Robert Lake’s, “An Indian Father’s Plea,” all show how the main characters have chosen to let their experiences have an effect on their cultural identity. A person’s cultural experiences shape perception based on their own identifications and they may chose to assimilate to different cultures.
How one’s culture affect the way we view the world and others are in many different ways, for example Heritage, Family structure, Symbolism,and Judgment are just a few out of many ways culture affect our point of view of the world and others. Furthermore what culture is, is a huge mix of parts that make up someone and who they are. In the Novel “ Two Kinds,” from The Joy Luck Club, by Hayden Herrera, the Short Story “ Everyday Use,” by Alice Walker, the Personal Essay “ Two Ways to Belong in America,” by Bharati Mukherjee, and in the Essay “An Indian Father’s Plea,” by Robert Lake conveys how this is true.
She explains her thesis by stating “Others who write stories of migration often talk of arrival at a new place as a loss of communal memory and the erosion of an original culture. I want to talk of arrival as a gain,” (360). The key points of the text include Mukherjee describing her transition between Calcutta and the United States, and what it means to be and American and how culture influences that aspect. The information in the text is significant; the people of America are a part of a melting pot, sometimes it is hard for them to find the distinction between American culture and their own. The information in Mukherjee’s story is clear and specific, unbiased, and is relevant to the purpose of the story. I believe Mukherjee has achieved her purpose of informing her audience about cultural differences; she presents certain strengths and weaknesses within the text.
Born in 1940 and raised in Calcutta, India, Bharati Mukherjee immigrated to the United States in 1961 and earned an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in literature. Mukherjee is the author of several novels, including Tiger's Daughter (1972) and Jasmine (1989), and short story collections, such as The Middleman and Other Stories (1988). She teaches literature and fiction writing at the University of California, Berkeley.
In her essay “My Two Lives,” Jhumpa Lahiri, an Indian American, explains the balance between the identities of the two countries inside her heart, as well as her psychological struggle between her bicultural identities. She describes herself as an Indian-American because she moved with her family from India to the United States when she was very young. However, confused with her identity through her growth, she feels that she doesn’t belong to either of the two countries because of its completely different cultures. When she is at home, she deals with her parents in an Indian way, which is strange compared to the American way that she come across outside. She says that she has a distinctive identity in spite of her Indian appearance
When adapting to a new culture, many find it hard to assimilate into their new world while still holding on to their past life. Finding yourself in a new place with a new language and unfamiliar faces is challenging for immigrants. Jhumpa Lahiri, an immigrant herself, sheds some light on the Indian culture in her book, Interpreter of Maladies. She conveys many challenges that immigrants face when moving away from their homeland in a myriad of short stories. These short stories introduce similar themes of immigration and adaptation through different experiences. Two of Lahiri’s short stories, “A Temporary Matter” and “Mrs. Sens”, do a great job in showing similar challenges of cultural differences in two different ways. They introduce characters
Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth is comprised of eight short stories about different Indian families’ struggles in America, many of them going through the immigrant experience. The conflicts are with friends and family, and also with themselves, as each of them attempt to find their own identity along with fitting in with the rest of society. One of the causes of these struggles that because the families in the stories are mixed in terms of generation. Many of the adults in the stories were first generation immigrants from India, while many of the children were raised in the United States, which is the second generation. This led to blending of culture and at the same time, clashes between the immigrant mentality of living and the American mentality of living. In Unaccustomed Earth, Lahiri demonstrates to the reader the important influence of environment, specifically culture and how it impacts parental teachings, on the personality and development of an individuals’ identity, and how the actions and development of characters can affect one’s family and friends; the impact of environment and culture is shown especially by the characters and stories “Hell-Heaven” and “Hema and Kaushik”.
Through her tasteful selection of contemporary Indian influenced prose pieces, Jhumpa Lahiri traces the unique journey of Indian families established in America. Focusing on the intergenerational aspect of traditional households, Lahiri conveys the emotional rollercoaster that accompanies a person who is branded as a foreigner. In America, there exists a common misconception that immigrants who arrive in this country fully assimilate or seek to assimilate as time progresses. The category I chose was "The Dot of true Happiness." The dot which signifies the bindi, a traditional red mark worn by Indian people, is the source of true happiness among these immigrants.
The novel Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee is an incredible story about the transformation and life experiences of a Panjabi girl from India. The life of Jyoti is told from her point of view when she is twenty-four years old, and pregnant with the baby of Bud Ripplemeyer, a crippled banker who is more than twice Jyoti’s age. During the span of two months in Iowa, Jyoti narrates her biographical experiences in Punjab and in America as she strives to become independent. Jasmine illustrates that when one’s relationships go through changes, it will impact one’s identity.