Even though many are fantasized with the simple thought of being and American, the actual attainment of American citizenship by the Indian Americans comes with myriads of cultural and sociological implications as depicted by Jhumpa Lahiri, the author of a novel entitled Interpreter of Maladies. Most commonly, the American Indians are often trapped between the traditional cultures and the newly acquired prevailing cultures of the “New World” in which they live. The resultant cultural clash is a real force to reckon with as far harmonization of the two opposing cultures is concerned in the modern world.
The process of becoming American is not a bed of roses as some Indians would imagine. The adoption of a new American culture makes it possible to discard the olden cultures for worse. As such, the highly esteemed Indian culture will not only be abandoned by the Indian Americans but will also be disregarded with utmost contempt by the brainwashed lot as evident in the case of the Das family in the novel Interpreter of Maladies. Having brought up and worked in the land of dream opportunities that America is, the Das’ family seems not to exhibit any element of the Indian culture in their lifestyle. They have fully adopted the American culture notwithstanding their rich Indian cultural background that mars their ancestry.
It is imperative to note that immigrants do meet heavy costs of becoming Americans and that the dangers of becoming an American far outweigh the potential benefits in the cultural sense. As much as the immigrants yearn to become American citizenship in the hope of leading a better life and enjoying opportunities such employment, an imminent cultural degradation and subsequent loss of the Indian traditional culture that is normally associated with the process of becoming an American is regrettable in the cultural context.
Drawing from the examples of Mr and Mrs. Das and their two sons, Bobby and Ronny, it is apparent that the social impacts of cultural loss could be satisfactorily equated to a lethal social disaster in its full glare. In other words, the adoption of the American cultures by the Indian immigrants constitutes a moral decadence that will tear the much cherished traditional values that holds constituent components and members of the Indian society down the middle. Erosion of the Indian could manifests in immoral sexual promiscuity of Mrs. Das who attributes her indulgence in an extramarital affair to an unhappy marriage with Mr. Das as revealed to the interpreter and tour guide, Mr. Kapasi.
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Prior to reading this book, I always presumed that America is a land full of opportunities and equal chances for all as portrayed in its thrilling historical accounts. Succumbing to the much prevailing influential euphoria of becoming an America, I thought that I could only attain the self-actualization upon the attainment of an American citizenship just like my Indian contemporaries. For these reasons, I had a strong urge to become an America against all odds.
Taking the revelations made by Jhumpa Lahiri in the Interpreter of Maladies concerning the pain that comes with becoming an American into consideration, I no longer pursue my relentless quest of becoming an American but rather associate the term “American” with a failed culture that cannot hold and sustain its the society into posterity due to lack of a family touch. For this reason, I consider it a moral decadence that gnaws the moral fabrics of the rich Indian culture. On the flipside, the Indian culture that I subscribed to is superior to the American one since it influences lifestyles and human behavior in the entire society for a common good.
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. On this basis, it qualifies to be a moral depravity that acts against the moral framework of the rich Indian culture. In sharp contrast, the Indian culture to which I fully subscribed is superior to the American culture on the strength that it influences the lifestyles, behavior, and human interactions in the entire society for the common good of all.