Monday, March 6, 2017
Comparing stories about th immigrant experience
Jhumpa Lahiri's story the third and final continent in the 100 years of the best american short stories anthology is the third in the volume from the 1990s and 2000s about immigrants to the us and the immigrant family experience. It's an interesting contrast w junot Diaz's story about Dominican immigrants very urban and working class and focused on the experiences of a young man trying to fit in w his peers - socially sexually - And to make sense of his troubled family life - and w akhail sharma's story not about Indian immigrants per se but we sense that he is a child of immigrants - his story from a woman's point of view a look at a failed marriage by a male author - whereas lahiri's is the opposite - a man's point of view on a successful marriage. We get the sense here too that this is lahiri's take on a version of her parents' marriage, and we see in her writing a completely different set of immigrants compared w Diaz's - hers are educated and demure almost excruciatingly polite w all and w each other. The story is a mature man's reflection on his arrival in the us 20 years or so back and the poverty and assimilation in his first weeks and the arrival of his wife - an arranged marriage - whom he hardly knows. They are so sweet w each other, so shy - and lahiri's does a great job in her elegant manner (even the title of the story is elegant) showing how the narrator's eccentric, elderly land lady served to bring this shy couple to love one another by giving their marriage a benediction that was totally unexpected. The end of the story, reflecting back and thinking how differ things now seem to Theo child/children - those of lahiri's generation - who can hardly understand the experience of their parents - tho the story itself, lahiri's benediction, gives the lie to that idea.