English 10 H
11 September 2011
When moving from one country to another, most people face difficulty in combining both cultures, and fail to adapt to their new country. In the book of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri, the protagonists are often placed in an uncomfortable or unknown position. The reader is able to judge the characters based on how they act during their uncomfortable position. In the short story “Mrs. Sen”, Mrs. Sen is unable to find the right balance between her original Indian heritage and American culture, while the protagonist in “The Third and Final Continent” is successful in striking the best balance between the two cultures.
In the short story, “Mrs. Sen”, Mrs. Sen only displays her Indian heritage through view of India as well as her material Indian possessions because she did not want to leave in the first place. Throughout the story, Mrs. Sen expresses her love for the fish in Calcutta, India. While the fish from her local grocer is indeed fresh and reserved for her, She constantly remarks that the fish is not as fresh in America. For Sen, the fish isn’t just food, it’s a piece of India. She is showing that, in her mind, India will always be superior to America. She didn’t choose a new country as well as a new fish. Moreover, Mrs. Sen displays her culture through her traditional cutting blade and her saris. She constantly is using the blade because it reminds her of gatherings with fellow Indian women. She holds on to these gatherings because in America, she is a prisoner in her own home, lacking social relationships. At the same time, her saris are symbolic of her Indian customs and how she will never stop “wearing” them. Furthermore, the story ends with Sen attempting to drive to the market to purchase the fish, but she crashes the car in the process. Sen attempting to buy the fish is a symbol for her attempt to finally “buy” into American culture. By ending the story with a...
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