Once in a Lifetime, by Jhumpa Lahiri Essay

1386 Words 6 Pages
“Like many immigrant offspring I felt intense pressure to be two things, loyal to the old world and fluent in the new, approved of on either side of the hyphen” (Lahiri). Jhumpa Lahiri, a Pulitzer Prize winner, describes herself as Indian-American, where she feels she is neither an Indian nor an American (Lahiri). Lahiri feels alienated by struggling to live two lives by maintaining two distinct cultures. Lahiri’s most of the work is recognized in the USA rather than in India where she descents (Mullan). Lahiri’s characterization and imagery in her short stories and novels describes the cultural differences of being Indian American and how Indian’s maintain their identity upon emigrating to a new western world. Lahiri’s inability to feel …show more content…
Her first language was Bengali that was spoken in the house and she could speak English without an accent unlike her parents who still struggled to talk fluently in English (Lahiri). The food at home was dal chawal that was finger food to her Bengali parents, while Lahiri was used to eat pizza and pasta. The holiday’s her parent’s celebrates was not Christmas or thanksgiving, rather it was Diwali – festival of lights or Holi- the festival of colors (Lahiri). While growing up Lahiri was afraid of what her school friends thought of her. Lahiri started to get solace from reading fictional books where she did not have to feel alienated. The fictional characters she read about wore and ate whatever they wished without being self-conscious. Lahiri learned the American living by reading such books, yet at the same time Lahiri felt she was betraying her parents who were struggling to bring her up without having to erase the Indian identity in her. Lahiri always tried to fit in the world but she always felt alienated due to her skin color and her distinguish features. Every summer her parents took her to visit India while her American friends pity her because the Indian culture did not flourish during 1970’s. No matter how hard Lahiri tried to be an American, her parents who were barrier to her freedom, always considered her Bengali. Lahiri has always thought of herself as neither Indian nor American. Indian-American immigrant always give importance to education, which

Related Documents