English 242 D
Reading Response #4
A theme is the string that ties to entire story together. It is constant throughout the entire plot and connects the concepts to a bigger idea. However, the theme can do more than just that. Themes have the power to make a statement about a greater idea. It allows the story to be applied to some type of real world scenario. In “Mrs. Sen’s” by Jhumpa Lahiri the theme is able to be applied to a larger scenario regarding those who come to America from a foreign country. Lahiri is able to make a statement that is greater than the story. She uses Mrs. Sen to express to the reader what life can be like for an immigrant. Mrs. Sen must relearn how to live her daily life, which is and issue that many newcomers face.
“Mrs. Sen’s” is a story about a young boy, Eliot, who is babysat by an Indian woman from Calcutta. As the story progresses, Eliot learns that Mrs. Sen lives a very different life than he does. He watches Mrs. Sen struggle to adapt to life in America, since it is very different than her life was in Calcutta. In Calcutta, Mrs. Sen was near her family, and now all she has to look forward to is the “arrival of a letter from her family” (Lahiri, 121). She also listens to a tape that was made by her family members the day that she left India. Her family says things like “’the price for goat rose’” and “’the mangoes at the market are not very sweet” (Lahiri, 128). These types of things helped keep Mrs. Sen connected to something familiar. When she was asked about India, or when it was simply mentioned, she would reply with “Everything is there” (Lahiri, 113) She also has very straightforward routines to try and keep her life as normal as possible. These routines include cutting her vegetables in the same way, with the same knife, before each meal, and putting the vermillion in her hair everyday. She also practices driving each day, which is something completely new to her. In Calcutta,...
Cited: Lahiri, Jhumpa. "Mrs. Sen 's." Interpreter of Maladies: Stories. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Print.
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