By Chira Banerjee Divakaruni And Mrs. Dutta Write A Letter

1203 Words5 Pages
Blood is Not Thicker than Water Adjusting to a major life change is not always an easy task, and adapting to a new culture is no exception. “Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and “Who’s Irish?” by Gish Jen each tell the story of a foreign, elderly woman and her struggle to adjust to life with her family in the United States. Prior to immigrating, each woman had only experienced her native culture, and, upon arrival, each is reluctant to adopt the American lifestyle. However, Mrs. Dutta, in “Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter,” makes an effort to please her family by pretending to conform to their habits and silencing her personal unhappiness with her family’s living standards as well as America as a whole. In contrast, the…show more content…
Dutta Writes a Letter,” Mrs. Dutta makes an effort to convince herself that she belongs in America with her family. “’How can I not like it, Roma?’ Mrs. Dutta’s voice was strident, even to her own ears. With an effort she controlled it and continued, ‘…I’ll miss my friends, I know—and you most of all…but they’re my only family. And blood is blood after all’” (Divakaruni 236). Mrs. Dutta associates family with America and refers to them as the, “Flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood” (234). When life in America is difficult, she repeats this phrase to herself as a reminder of why she must adjust to a new…show more content…
Dutta, the Chinese narrator of “Who’s Irish?” is self-assured and not willing to contain her opinions of the American culture in order to satisfy her family. When her daughter complains that the narrator does not support her, she verbally dismisses the American culture: “We do not have this word in Chinese, supportive” (Jen 325). Also in contrast to Mrs. Dutta, the Chinese narrator does not even pretend to adapt to American habits. When her daughter wonders what to do about Sophie’s wild behavior, the narrator turns to the Chinese culture and suggests spanking. She feels confident that the Chinese method of discipline is effective, but her daughter makes it clear that the American culture disapproves of physical punishment. At first, the Chinese narrator respects her daughter’s wishes and refrains from violence. However, when the methods the Chinese narrator uses to stop Sophie from misbehaving fail, she spanks Sophie. Her daughter is appalled when she catches the narrator trying to drive Sophie out of a hole at a playground with a

More about By Chira Banerjee Divakaruni And Mrs. Dutta Write A Letter

Open Document