The Third and Final Continent
Similar to the narrator's experiences, the lives of Lahiri and her parents not only span decades but also continents: Asia, Europe, and North America. Lahiri was born in England, raised in America, and traveled often to India during her childhood (Wcislo 2001). The story parallels closely with her family's history: a father who worked as a librarian and a mother who meticulously adhered to Indian traditions regardless of where or how long she lived (Wcislo 2001). Everyone in the Lahiri family is represented in the story. Her father is the narrator. Her mother is both the narrator's wife, Mala and Mrs. Croft. Lahiri herself is both Mrs. Croft's daughter, Helen and the narrator's son. It begins with the narrator's move from India to England "to educate and establish [himself] abroad" (Lahiri 173). He eventually adapts to the British way of life but does not do so alone as he lives in a "house occupied entirely by penniless Bengali bachelors like [himself]" (Lahiri 173). The fact that he is able to surround himself with people who truly understand where he comes from, is advantageous for him as it eases him into his new life rather than abruptly throwing him into the deep end. His time in England is the first occasion that Lahiri uses to show that by actively keeping one's cultural identity intact one can make anyplace their home. Another case in point would be the constant reference to "egg curry" in the story: for no matter where the narrator finds himself he is able to bring an affordable, yet nostalgic taste of home wherever he goes (Lahiri 173). Keeping even the most trivial of traditions alive is what essentially keeps him together. Life in America is no different, as he learns to adapt in much the same way, though by now he has annexed another culture to his arsenal of coping mechanisms, that of the British. But that is not to say that he has abandoned his Indian roots entirely. No, in fact he opts to use both to his benefit....
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