How Are the American and Indian Cultures Presented in "Mrs. Sen's"

Topics: Cultural assimilation, Culture of India, Culture Pages: 3 (826 words) Published: October 16, 2011
How are the American and Indian Cultures presented in “ Mrs. Sen’s ”
It is acknowledged that the world consists of variant cultures, each of whom its individuals have different beliefs, various traditions and diverse lifestyles. Consequently, when individuals move from one culture to another, the ability to assimilate is conceived as a necessity. The level of assimilation, however, depends on how much the individual desires to merge into the new culture and how much of their original identity the individual is prepared to lose. In “Mrs. Sen’s” we are identified with an Indian couple living in America. Mrs. Sen, the wife, struggles to assimilate into the American society, yet because of her refusal to abdicate any part of her Indian culture; we come to see how all her attempts to assimilate fail.

Through the story, we perceive how distinct the American and Indian cultures are. Each culture is symbolized by a different culture, Mrs. Sen the Indian culture, and Eliot’s mom the American. Mrs. Sen is viewed as a passive, easily distracted woman. Describing her while she drived, “She was continuously distracted. She stopped the car without warning to listen to something on the radio… if she passed a person she waved. If she saw a bird twenty feet in front of her she beeped the horn… and waited for it to fly away.” Driving was a step that Mrs. Sen was trying to take in order to assimilate into the American culture, however her dislike of driving and her failure to concentrate make it obvious that Mrs. Sen will never become capable of driving. Mrs. Sen’s failure to concentrate symbolizes how hyper-conscious Indian culture is of the existence of other beings, and how insignificant things like sounds and birds seem to grab their attention.

The American culture, on the other hand, is recognized as self-centered, fully merged in their own world. Eliot tries to offer Mrs. Sen advice on driving remembering how his mother drives, “‘You have to turn and speed up fast,’…...
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