Imagining Homelands

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How long does it take for one to become an American citizen? A majority of America’s population has emigrated from various parts of the world for many different reasons. Some immigrants adapt instantly, while others take years. Some may never adapt and never feel at home in the new country that they are living in. In the essay Imagining Homelands by Bharati Mukherjee, the author suggests that that an immigrant is either like her sister, someone who religiously retains her ethnicity, or like Mukherjee, who changes what is necessary to adapt to her new environment. Her sister keeps her roots while Mukherjee loses hers. Upon moving to America, Mukherjee changes the way she dresses because her sari, traditional Indian attire for women, is impractical in her new environment. She categorizes the process of leaving ones home country and adopting a new country into four groups: expatriation, exile, immigration, and repatriation. Of the four she claims that the immigrant is most loved because it’s the immigrant who changes herself and yet retains her identity, in order to adapt to her new environment. With her strong stance on immigration, Bharati Mukherjee makes it clear in what she believes in: each immigrant has their own story and migrates to a new country for a variety of different reasons, the process of moving to a new place and adapting to a new environment can be somewhat of a struggle for some and a completely opposite feeling for others, and idea that everyone is immigrants is false and never was and never will be the case. One of Mukherjee’s main arguments in her essay is that not everyone moves to a new country for the same reason. She compares her intentions of migration to those of her sister’s. Mukherjee explains that her sister and her were both raised in Calcutta and have both been living in America for about thirty-five years, but their lifestyles differ drastically from one another. Her sister married an Indian student and has remained at the same job

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