Clothes by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Essay

Clothes by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Essay

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The short story “Clothes” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is about a young Indian woman, Sumita, and her cultural transition to America that is symbolized by her clothes and the color of her clothes. The traditional Indian attire for a woman is a sari and each one has its own purpose. Her clothes also indicate her progression from daughter, to wife, to woman.
The story starts off with the bride to be in a yellow sari preparing to meet her future husband by bathing in a lake. She describes the yellow sari as a sunflower after rain. Yellow here could possible signify new times to come or peace. The bath she was taking is relaxing her to the idea that she is about to marry a man she has not even met, as well as the thought of losing her family.
Next, Sumita is dressed for her bride-viewing in a light pink sari which signifies marriage, luck and possibility. This sari not only shows her faith towards her heritage but it also denotes their family wealth. [talk about Indian family wealth and how it applies to arranged marrages] Light pink also signifies the color of transition. Her transition in this section is from daughter to wife. By wearing this pink sari she would surely be chosen as Somesh wife.
Once chosen as the perfect wife Sumita has to take a plane ride to the United States. Sumita chose to wear a blue sari because to her it represented the color of possibility and it also matched the color of the sky to which she was traveling in. Her mother on the other hand wanted to wear red. Red in her belief is supposed to give luck to married women. [married women in India, their responsibilities] They compromised and found one that was blue with red trim to satisfy both arguments.
Once in America you see that Sumita is...


... middle of paper ...


...With marriage comes change and Sumita has now change from a daughter to a wife.
In summary colors can symbolize a lot of things. In many different cultures we use colors to describe a feeling or a way of life. For Sumita the colors of her outfits played a major role in the way she felt about herself. Her blue sari represented the color of possibilities and made her feel better about the trip and not knowing her husband. For instance, on the plane ride to the United States she started to feel physically sick about embarking on her new life. In order to make herself feel better she started thinking about all her beautiful saris that were in her suitcase such as her purple silk saris and cotton woven ones that reminded her of the Bengal countryside. She describes green saris that are like young bananna plants and grey ones that remind her of a lake from back home.

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