Ethnic Universal and Assimilation Discussions - Essay Prowess

Ethnic Universal and Assimilation Discussions


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Discuss Ethnic Universal and Assimilation in the Following Three Short Novels

In a globalized society, it is common to witness members from different racial or ethnic grouping employing ethnic symbols as marks of distinctiveness from other groups. Dress codes, religious backgrounds and language are some of the general ethnic symbols. Two short novels; Nam Le’s Love and Honour and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice and Mukherjee’s The Tenant present a foundation for analysis on ethnic, universal and assimilation aspects naturally occurring in a culturally diverse society like America.

The Tenant is a captivating short story where Maya Sanyal, an elite tenant exudes her indigenous culture’s ethnic identity even as she makes attempts to fully assimilate into American society’s social and cultural ways of life. As an American immigrant with Indian roots, her elite status both in her homeland and in the new society enables her to embrace the positive aspects of both cultures with great ease. Maya has shed off the negative aspects associated with ethnic Indian attributes by respect of being able to quickly and easily assimilate to the presumable progressive American culture. She is exhibited as a Universalist in the feminine aspect of seeking fledgling relationships For instance, Mukherjee narrates that “She is strange and lonely, but being Indian is not the same … as being a freak” (112). In contrast to the ethnic foundations of Indian society, Maya is a very lucky person as she is free from the boundaries thanks to the liberalism relative to morals in America“Divorced women can date… go to bars and disco, …can see mens, many mens. But inside marriage there is so much loneliness” (Mukherjee 108). In an attempt to embrace universalism she assimilates into American society with great ease. Her prestigious family background adapts well to the consumerist nature of American culture.

In the short story Love and Honour and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice, the author Nam Le offers the narrative of a young author with the ethnic, universal and assimilation dilemma that similarly faces many immigrants. The young author opts to embark on a project in which he prepares an ethnic story. However, his motivations behind the endeavor are conflicting with regards to immigrant’s desire to assimilate into American society fully whereas elderly immigrants like his father remain keen to uphold indigenous cultural values. His father was incredibly strict, forcing him to study for over ten hours. He “learned to hate him with a straight face” (Le and Yaegashi 13). The story depicts the protagonist as a Universalist keener on assimilating and being embraced by American society though fate plays in favor of keeping to ethnic boundaries. His friend and girlfriend are not antagonistic relative to the author’s different ethnic roots. This positive attribute of American society denotes that it is the immigrant who is tasked with determining that ethnicity is accurately assimilated to American way of life. The Universalist has to embrace the good aspects of both cultures as mutually beneficial to the young author.

Given that America is essentially a nation of immigrants, political and social leaders have sought to champion for cultural diversity for the greater good of the society. Unfortunately, this has happened at the expense of ethnic roots which are critical to a person’s moral fabric and purpose in life. Maya suffers so much for deviating or assimilating to American norms. Like many immigrants, the protagonist associate assimilation with cutting off ethnic roots. The outcome is akin to a headless chicken leading to a directionless purpose in life. The young author is luckier since his father is present to offer moral guidance. The universalism exhibited underscores that a failure to appreciate the ethnic attributes with one’s cultural background translates to denying the essence of self. Without ethnic roots, both protagonists seem to sway whichever way the wind in American society blows and she therefore bears a false understanding of what assimilation entails.

Works Cited

Le, Nam, and Yaegashi James. Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice: From the Collection The Boat. Charlotte Hall, MD: Recorded Books, 2009.

Mukherjee, Bharati. The middleman and other stories. New York City, NY: Grove Press, 1999.