Sunday, May 3, 2009

American Dreamer by Bharati Mukherjee

Bharati Mukherjee is an Indian born Hindu. She came to Iowa City 35 years ago to study creative writing at the University of Iowa. Muhkerjee expains to us the culture she was raised in in Calcutta India. Traditional Hindu families allow the father to choose his daughters future husband. Bharati Mukherjee did not intend to disappoint her father by settiing her own goals or by taking control of her own future. However in one of the classes she took at the University of Iowa she fell in love with a man named Clark Blaise. Blaise is an American from Canada. The two got married in a lawyers office during their lunch break. This impulsive five minute wedding changed her future dramatically. She now had loyalties towards two different cultures.
For ten years she lived in Canada with her husband until she forced her husband her two sons to relocate to the United States again. Muhkerjee describes that he life in Canada was painful, being treated as minority even though she spoke both English and French very well. Canadians considered her a "non real" Canadian because of her color.
Mukherjee goes on to explain racial acts of terrorism in Canada deepened her love of the ideals in the American bill fo Rights. She became and American citizen by choice not by simple accident of birth. Mukherjee takes her citizenship very seriously. All countries view themselves by their ideals says Mukherjee. Americans idealize themselves as the embodiments of liberty, opnness, and individualism, even though the world judges them for drugs, crime, violence, and homelessness Mukherjee says. She then explians a story about Michael Fay in Singapore who was sentenced for spray painting some cars. This was an "American" crime she explains.
Later Mukherjee expreses her excitment about as a nation we have not only the chance to retain those values we treasure from our original cultures but also the chance to acknowledge that the outrer froms of those values are likely to change. Parents express rage or despair to some aspects of Indian culture. Mukherjee would like to ask those parents this, "What is it we have lost if our children are acculturating into the culture in which we are living? Is it so terrible that our children are discovering or are inventing homelands for themselves?
Mukherjee is acknowledging that America has transformed her. She says that it does not end until she shows that she along with the hundreds of thousands of immigrants like her are minute by minute transforming America. This transformation is a two-way process that affects both the individual and the nation cultural identity.

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