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Jhumpa Lahiri And Local Colors - Essay Example

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Jhumpa Lahiri is one of the most prominent American-Bengali writers. Born on July 11, 1967, she has already published three books and has already won a Pulitzer Prize. …
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Jhumpa Lahiri And Local Colors

Download file to see previous pages... Her collection of short stories, The Interpreter of Maladies, won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It drew criticism especially from the Indians because they said that India was not painted in a more positive light. However, it still managed to become a bestseller. Lahiri writes nonfiction, sometimes published in The New Yorker, like Cooking Lessons, which talks about the importance of food in her relationship with her mother. Her writing style is actually simple. She uses simple words and plain language. Her characters are usually Indian-American, or Indians, by default. The setting is mostly America in which her characters have to navigate their native values into their new adopted home. Sometimes, one might think that her work is autobiographical, which is true because she says, she draws from her experiences. Of course, she also draws from the experiences of her friends and family, and this makes her literature more accessible and familiar to her readers. Her work is a good reference to find the nuances of immigrant life, especially the Indian-American life. Her literature is also heavy on the use of local color. Of course, since her work is largely regionalistic, it can’t be helped if she uses local color to demonstrate the customs or other cultural artifacts native to her own land. It is both romantic and realistic; Romantic in a sense that it invokes nostalgia and sentimentality but also romantic since it involves realism, as in the realistic struggles of some folks in the stories. Local color stories tend to focus more on the details of the character and setting rather than the individual character itself. They can sometimes be stereotyped rather than be identified as a special character in the story. The characters are important because they are the ones who demonstrate the culture and the other cultural artifacts that the author is writing about. They also give away the values and the customs, as well as their adherence to tradition and that is directly related to the regional context of the author. The setting is also important. Unlike the character, details of the setting can be heavily detailed as to provide the necessary mood in the story. Sometimes, the setting is not the motherland, especially if they are talking about disconnect. Although Lahiri’s stories are fiction, she uses the first person point of view. This lends the story a personal touch. The narrator in her stories acts as a tour guide in the world that she paints. This first person point of view is quite refreshing because the readers feel extra special because they think that they are entering a secret world with the author. This makes Lahiri’s works exceptional. Another thing that makes Lahiri’s works exceptional is the fact that she uses food, language and religion as tools that mark her ethnic identity. These “little” details provide the necessary atmosphere in order for the story to be successful in portraying the local colors. In the story When Mr. Pirzada Came To Dine, Lahiri’s persona takes as a character of the narrator, who happens to be a little girl named Lilia. At one point of her life, a certain Mr. Pirzada from Dacca came to their house regularly for dinners. This was the time when Pakistan and India were fighting around 1965 (Indian-Pakistani War). Mr. Pirzada came to their house for the food, because he was not at all well-off as an immigrant, and of course, as someone from their own race/culture, even if they are Indians and Mr. Pirzada is a Pakistani, they welcomed him because they understood his plight as an ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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