Essay about Imagining Homelands

1487 Words Nov 15th, 2011 6 Pages
How long does it take for one to become an American citizen? A majority of America’s population has emigrated from various parts of the world for many different reasons. Some immigrants adapt instantly, while others take years. Some may never adapt and never feel at home in the new country that they are living in. In the essay Imagining Homelands by Bharati Mukherjee, the author suggests that that an immigrant is either like her sister, someone who religiously retains her ethnicity, or like Mukherjee, who changes what is necessary to adapt to her new environment. Her sister keeps her roots while Mukherjee loses hers. Upon moving to America, Mukherjee changes the way she dresses because her sari, traditional Indian attire for women, is …show more content…
Mukherjee on the other hand marries a Canadian, has moved at least twenty times, and is currently an U.S. citizen and could not imagine ever living in India again. A question that arises in her essay is, “Which one of us is the freak? Someone who retains the food, the clothes, the accent of expatriation, or her T-shirted, blue jeaned sister?” (219). She questions who is considered the “freak” or “normal” one, but cannot define what it means to be either. Those two words can be interpreted in many different ways because it depends on each person’s view of what a “freak” or “normal” person is. In addition to comparing the lifestyles of the sisters, Mukherjee also evaluates the intentions of their stay in the United States. Her sister moved here knowing that she planned on moving back to India, whereas Mukherjee did not. She moved here with the intentions of becoming a permanent resident and succeeded by earning her American citizenship. Although they both moved here at the same time, their intentions of staying differed, but does not prove that one is better than the other.
Not only does Mukherjee explain her sister’s and her reasons of immigration, she also gives examples other various reasons for immigration. “We are expatriates, exiles, slaves, and dispossessed, we are conquerors, plunderers, refugees, and amnesty-seekers, we are temporary workers, undocumented workers, visitors, students, tourists, we are joy-seekers,
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