Unaccustomed Earth Summary

1574 Words 7 Pages
American children know well the expectations of getting good grades, respecting their elders, and finishing their vegetables before dessert, but to many American’s disbeliefs there are other styles of parenting that differ greatly from the American standard. These differences are seen at the household level but often engulf entire nations into separate cultures distinctive from our own. Junot Díaz and Jhumpa Lahiri provide an alternative lens into the lives of those living as Americans in a culturally different home. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Unaccustomed Earth present the parenting styles of Dominican and Indian families and the potential lifelong changes that come with each’s cultural ties. In both books, we see how education, …show more content…
Ruma marries Adam, an American man, despite her parents’ disproval of not following the regular arrangement of Indian marriages. Her mother tells her, “You are ashamed of yourself, of being Indian, that is the bottom line” (26). Traditionally, Ruma should have married a fellow Bengali to satisfy the purpose of an arranged marriage (financial, social and economic stability). Like Ruma’s parents, the wife takes care of the home while the husband provides financially for the family, each depending on each other for specific responsibilities. Ruma’s parents had an arranged marriage, and after her mother’s death, her father met Ms. Bagchi and realized his longing for a companion. Although she did not want to marry, she too enjoyed his company as they traveled. Mrs. Bagchi questions Ruma’s father asking him if he plans to move in with Ruma (29), as that is tradition Indian obligation to take care of one’s own parents in their old age. This is seen in Ruma’s father’s experience as a son as well, “he knew that he, too, had turned his back on his parents, by settling in America” (51). Lahiri’s short story affirms familial dependency in regards to marriage and obligations in caring for the elders of the

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