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What Does The Word Culture Mean?

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What Does The Word Culture Mean?

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  • April 2, 2003
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Have you ever though what does the word "culture" means? Well, throughout life people refer to this word as art, beliefs, behavior, ideas or activities relating to literature, art, and music of a particular society or group of people. However, that is only the simply definition that appears on the dictionary. Culture involves other important subjects that describe deeply this word, issues such as, family, language, identity, stereotyping, raising, expectations, economic situation and so on. Therefore, family is the place in which society begins, but in many cases families are part of different cultures, and the ones that are affected by this situation are the kids. These children are the ones who have to fight day by day against these two different worlds. To illustrate this, I choose some stories such as, "the Good Daughter," by Caroline Hwang, "Living in Two Worlds," by Marcus Mabry and "Almost a Woman," by Esmeralda Santiago. Each of these stories reveals the conflicts children have to confront in the adjustment in a foreign culture and the roles that family and cultural identity play in accentuating these dilemmas. This essay will show how children have to face the pressures and demands of living in two different cultures.

First of all, one important aspect of the experiences of these children is to define their identity. Therefore, for children that belongs to two cultures is not easy to find their identity, especially if they come from immigrant families. In the story "The Good Daughter," Caroline Hwang, an American-born Korean, describes how she loses her identity. Throughout all her life she though that she was American as Korean, but she did not imagine that a visit to the dry cleaner was going to make her realize that she was not as Korean as she though. According to "The Good Daughter," The woman behind the counter of the dry cleaner tells Caroline: "You do not how to speak your name," (15). This incident surprised her; at that moment she discovers...