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Alpha Kappa Alpha Essay

785 words - 4 pages

A recurring theme when it comes to many stories, either novels or short stories, is a realization of one’s identity. It may be either the main character or supporting characters that undergo an epiphany. While it is uncertain if his views were changed, the narrator of Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin went through a catharsis by the end of the short story. After reuniting with his former heroin addict brother, Sonny, the narrator tries to make him conform to the society. Sonny, on the other side, would much rather enjoy art such as Charlie Parker. Likewise, In Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri, through the conflict between the parents and the younger generation, the inner conflict of cultures surfaces. However, through the use of the symbols such as the trembling cup in the final scene and the conflict in Hell-Heaven, Baldwin and Lahiri demonstrates the realization and struggle of the main characters.
Hell-Heaven is often thought to be a romance between the mother and the “uncle” Pranab. In reality, it is a conflict between the two clashing cultures of Bengal and America. The title itself supports it. The correct way to say the phrase is “Heaven-Hell” and so when the opposite is used, it makes the impression of someone saying it incorrectly because of a misunderstanding of the language. It also signifies the tear between the two cultures, one way seeming right to Americans and the other to Bengalis. Pranab and Ursha came to the United States at a young age, allowing them to be more open-minded to the customs of Americans. This quick assimilation results in the opposition by the both parents with statements such as, “This is what happens to people in America?” The parents, especially of Pranab, don’t approve of his fiancee as she doesn’t “fit in” with their Bengali customs. The older generation is unaccustomed to the a foreign experience to enter their lives, pushing it away and causing disunity. The younger generation struggles with the two cultures. Ursha struggled with living an American childhood by going to school dances due to her mother “flying into a rage” at the mention of such American customs. The conflict in the story, unlike Sonny’s Blues, is not a realization of their identity but a...

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