Two Ways to Belong in America

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In America, it is a common misconception that all foreigners are similar; it is believed that they all have similar dreams and each of them end up chasing after the same jobs. However, this is not the case. Not only do immigrants from different countries hold different dreams, but those with a shared background even have varying hopes and dreams for the future. This is evidenced in Bharati Mukherjee’s essay, “Two Ways to Belong in America.” She utilizes several rhetorical strategies in order to show that immigrants have the ability to be assimilated into the American culture, but that they should not be deported if they choose not to conform to said culture. Mukherjee begins her essay with an exposition of her and her sister’s story. She uses repetition in order to emphasize the main differences between the two. For example, she states, “I am an American citizen and she is not. I am moved that thousands of residents are finally taking the oath of citizenship. She is not.” This line is used to set up her subject. She is stating that she is an immigrant whose dream was to envelop the American culture, while her sister does not believe that she should be assimilated into it. The use of repetition also appeals to her audience, Americans, by capturing their attention. Many Americans are nationalistic, if not jingoistic, and believe that America is the greatest country in the world. The notion that others do not feel this way may intrigue them, or potentially offend them, causing them to read on in attempt to find flaws within her argument. Mukherjee then begins to compare and contrast her sister in a subject-by-subject organization. She states, “…she clings passionately to her Indian citizenship and hopes to go home to India when she... ... middle of paper ... effects of ‘nontraditional’ immigration, the government officially turned against its immigrant communities…” In this line, Mukherjee is showing that she had also been a victim of the new immigration laws, and that was the reason she had conformed to the country, in order to feel a sense of belonging. In this instance, exemplification is used to develop her argument in an effective manner that causes the audience to feel a sense of guilt and even listen to her argument. In her essay, Mukherjee uses several rhetorical devices such as figurative language and exemplification in order to lead the audience to believe her argument. She believes in assimilation of culture, but it should not be forced upon any one. Throughout the essay, she goes through a logical thought process that leads the audience to realize this argument and even feel guilty of forced conformity.
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