Clothes: Sari and New Life

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“Clothes”
By naming the story “Clothes” Divakaruni takes the titles and turns it into a symbol for something in the story. In this instance Sumita’s clothes symbolize her journey from her old naitve country traditions in India to her new independence in her and her husband’s new apartment in America. Divakaruni writes this story to show the readers that most Indian country tradition is for the daughter to have an arranged marriage, with someone she may not know and love at the same time but will soon grow to love in the end. The author uses symbolism to take the title to a further meaning than just clothes.

In the beginning of the story Sumita’s clothes are the traditional saris of her country of which she is accustomed to wearing. For the bride viewing her father goes and buys her a new special sari just for the bride viewing. By doing this the new sari symbolizes the new life she is about to begin. Sumita then goes on to say “The sari was unexpectedly heavy in my hands, silk slippery, a sari to walk carefully in. A sari that could change one’s life.” In the quote the sari represents the new life that Sumita is about to step into even though she is not ready and scared. By saying the sari is unexpectedly heavy ; this symbolizes the heavy burden she is about to take on. When Sumita puts on the new sari she know that Somesh and his parents will choose her to be his bride.

Once Sumita arrives in America in her and Somesh’s new apartment, Somesh tells her about their store. To her the store’s name 7-Eleven symbolizes something exotic and risky. Somesh then presents her with the new clothes he has bought and smuggled past his parents because they would not accept anything different than the sari represented by the native tradition. The clothes are jeans and a close fitting t-shirt representing the new life he wants for her in America. They are not like her saris that she has worn all her life, they are different, they are free spirited. The t-shirt is the...
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