"Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri essay

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The ongoing vogue of becoming an American is gaining popularity in all parts of the world, particularly the developing countries. For example, the Indian immigrants make every effort to acquire the most desirable American citizenship. However, there are lots of social problems and conflicting cultural values that come with the shift of the cultures from the old Indian cultures to the American cultures of the New World by the Indian Americans. Unlike the Indian culture that serves as a functional social fabric to hold the society together, the American culture is highly precarious and is purely based on the whims of its people thus cannot guarantee its own social integration as depicted by Jhumpa Lahiri in the Interpreter of Maladies.

The process of becoming American by the Indian immigrants is very disadvantageous given that the adoption of the new American culture renders the much needed, obsolete Indian culture. It is a common phenomenon that few Americanized Indians cease to be useful members of the rich Indian culture as illustrated in the Interpreter of Maladies. The family of Das proved to be strangers in their own ancestral Indian soil for the mere reason that they were born and bred in America. Strange enough, the family of Das does not understand the Hindi language and must rely wholly on an interpreter, Mr. Karapasi to take and guide them around, the same way foreign tourists do. These are the potential dangers of becoming an American - an imminent loss of cultural identity is the dear price Indian immigrants pay for their uncalled relocation to the United States for whatever reason.

The implications of an Indian immigrant becoming an American takes full manifestation in the lifestyle of the Dases. Mr. and Mrs. Das neglect the greatest responsibility of parenting their two children as required of them by the Indian culture. Consequently, the two troublesome sons, Bobby and Ronny, are poorly parented and seem unruly for the mere reason that they left no chance for the Indian cultural values. Even though promiscuity is highly abominable in Indian culture, Mrs. Das is seen to be taking much pride in her adulterous affairs. She bears children outside their marriage with Mr. Das in her confession to Mr. Karapasi. It is therefore apparent that the adoption of the American cultures by the Indian immigrants constitutes a moral dissolution that disintegrates much cherished traditional values of the Indian society.

Prior to reading the Interpreter of Maladies, the exultation that America is a land full of opportunities and some more goodies compounded with the euphoria of becoming an American enticed me a great deal to forsake my Indian culture. Limited to the narrow scope of the aforementioned subjective thinking, my friends and I have been of the opinion that I can attain self-conceptualization only after becoming an American citizen. This kind of a wild thought no longer holds for us and we verily know India is the best place for us.

According to revelation of Jhumpa Lahiri in the Interpreter of Maladies, I am convicted that the American culture is highly irresolute and thus cannot firmly lay down standardized codes and values to regulate human behavior within the society because of its dwindling and curtailed nature. As such, it qualifies to be a moral depravity that acts against the moral framework of the rich Indian culture. On the other hand, the Indian culture, to which I belong, is superior to the American culture on the grounds that it influences the lifestyles, behavior and interactions of its members in the entire society for a common good. 

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