Reader Response Theory
In the short story “The Father”, by Bharati Mukherjee, explores the life a family that is faced with internal conflicts surrounding cultural ideals. Mukherjee utilizes descriptive literary techniques that enable the reader to analyze the author’s attitude towards western culture. Mr. Bhowmic, a father raised by old traditions, is constantly faced with obstacles regarding his daughter and wife on their “American” ideals. At the end of these obstacles Mr. Bhowmic’s and his wife are presented with troubling news from their daughter. Unfortunately, due to multicultural conflicts, a breaking point is reached when it is revealed that Mr. Bhowmic’s daughter has participated in artificial insemination and is preparing for child birth. Although it is easy to blame the pregnancy on multicultural issues; the real blame can unknowingly be her parents. The multicultural conflicts of American society develop issues in families that struggle to maintain the lifestyle they were accustomed to.
Mukherjee address, in a fair amount, in this short story the difficulties of transitioning from older Eastern cultures to modern Western cultures. Through various literary techniques Mukherjee gives the reader the ability to experience Mr. Bhowmic journey and adjustments to Western cultures his family must endure. This technique also assists the reader in infusing personal experiences with Mr. Bhowmic’s story, which results in a much deeper connection with the characters. Throughout the story the focus is primarily directed towards Mr. Bhowmic struggles surrounding his wife and daughter. The beginning to this short story displays evidence of how Mr. Bhowmic’s Eastern culture beliefs are challenged. At one point the author describes a scene when Mr. Bhowmic is reciting prayers to Kali-Mata, the patron goddess of his family, and then suddenly interrupted by his wife. This scene is important because this is the starting point where Mukherjee sets the tone for...
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