Santha Rama Rau Analysis

1105 Words 5 Pages
Looks, race, style, possessions; these are all what we first notice about people. And who do we first compare them to? We compare them to ourselves or other figures in our societies. Why do we perceive people and events around us differently? The answer is simply because we live in a culturally diverse world where people can be culturally diverse. Culture and how one perceives the world is strongly intertwined because: culture teaches you the values that you use to judge people, includes experiences of our past that reflect in our future actions, and determines what we experience due to our locations. From a young age we were always taught what was right and wrong, who was good or bad, and what was considered appropriate behavior. In …show more content…
As someone born and raised in Madras, India, Santha and her sister Premila had no previous contact with European culture or influence. One of their first experiences with white culture is on their first day of school at their Anglo-Indian school in the headmaster’s office. The headmaster said, “‘Oh my dears, those are much too hard for me. Suppose we give you pretty English names.’” (Rau 35). In doing this, she completely undermines their cultural identity. By attending this school, “Cynthia” and “Pamela” were losing sight of their heritage. They were trying to fit into their environments at the cost of their true identities. Their past experiences hadn’t prepared them for this encounter. Things that were normal for Santha and Premila were weird according to the other children. They had contrasting values. She recalled playing a game with the other children and she had “. . . learned my attitude was called ‘not being a good sport,’ and I stopped allowing myself to be caught.” (Rau 37). Comparatively to how she was raised, the children were brought up in different cultures and therefore perceived each other’s actions differently. Purposefully getting caught was considered a common courtesy to Premila, but seen as rude by European …show more content…
In Bharati Mukherjee’s personal essay called, “Two Ways to Belong in America,” Bharati describes the difference views she and her sister Mira had on immigration. Keeping in mind their similar backgrounds, Mira and Bharati turned out very different. She said that, “. . . we were almost identical in appearance and attitude . . ..” (Mukherjee 70). Consequently to their different experiences in early adulthood, the two sisters became more distinct from one another. Mira was a legal immigrant who held to tradition, and was described as being, “. . . here to maintain identity, but not transform it.” (Mukherjee 71). Meanwhile, Bharati challenged tradition and allowed herself to be influenced. Both girls pitied one another and Bharati best described it as, “The price an immigrant willingly pays, and the exile avoids, is the trauma of self-transformation.” (Mukherjee 72). Their cultural foundations were the same, but Mira and Bharati interpreted the information about immigration differently due to their

Related Documents