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Summary Of Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth

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The predicament of Ruma’s father is a universal predicament to all those immigrant parents caught up in a never ending dichotomy of acculturation. The more they assimilate themselves with the outside world, the more they can relate with their children. Usha, the adolescent protagonist of “Hell-Heaven” in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth, was born in Berlin, but later moved to Central Square, with her parents and settled there permanently. She is more an American with her behaviour and mannerism than an Indian. Usha’s dissatisfaction against her mother, Aparna is because of her Indian upbringing she imposed various restrictions on her daughter’s social behavior which are in absolute contrast to her American lifestyle. Usha when compare herself…show more content…
It is a very sensitive phase of life which needs special assistance on the part of the parents. But Usha’s mother’s over conservative attitude does not allow her to take her mother into confidence. For this reason Usha started inventing lies and maintaining secrets from her mother. It is at the end of the story, Usha’s mother attuned herself with her daughter as she realised that she would never be successful to make Usha an Indian on the American soil and at the end gives up her effort to change her. Usha’s mother realised that their immigrant status is responsible for Usha’s change of attitude, customs, manners and behaviors and therefore rather than try to mould her daughter into her crust, she decides to live for herself. But, her acceptance of her daughter’s whereabouts is not out of her willingness but out of her own sloughed condition. She repeatedly complains her husband about their immigrant life in America which might lay her daughter astray. Her particular attitude is also the outcome of her being secluded from the outside world. Unlike Usha and her father, she has no professional life of her own so, she never felt the necessity of becoming a part of the American culture and if she has any social life that too is confined within otherIndian immigrant families. Uma’s father who has his lucrative job does not think of going back to India and…show more content…
In the American society, privacy is given due importance. Even a child at her very early age is allowed to have her private room, a private space of his own. Hema is another character from Lahiri’s “Once in a Lifetime” (from Unaccustomed Earth) who feels ashamed to reveal to her American friends at school that she still regularly shares the bed with her parents, the habit which her friends already discarded at their infancy. Hema has a room of her own where she kept her dresses and things, but she was never allowed by her mother to sleep alone in that room. Her mother Shibani who is a Calcutta bred Indian women come to America only after her marriage, unable to comprehend the American culture. The difference of understanding between the mother and the child is the unbridgeable gap of cultural assimilation. Hema spent most of her hours at school in the midst of her American friends which helps her to assimilate harmoniously with the mainstream American society, while her mother cannot adopt herself with the culture of the host country. Hema is just a representative of an agonized child suffering from secret fear of being marginalized. However, after repeated insistence of Hema, her mother finally agrees to allow her daughter sleep alone in her room, but she used to check several times at night to ascertain her daughter’s safety and comfort. In the first few days Hema herself
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