Phenomenon of multiculturalism analysis

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:English

Document 1

Notably, he portrays the complexities of multiculturalism by highlighting the struggles as a result of assimilation in Temporary Love, In the Crossfire, and in Children as Enemies. Thematically, the three stories expound profound Chinese immigrant experience in the United States by showcasing the struggles of assimilation and by highlighting the prospects of acceptance in the adopted land as far away from their expectations. In context, the three stories revolve around the conceptual prospects of cultural dissonance experienced by the Chinese as characterized by the feeling of alienation, voluntary exile, and assimilation into the American experience; associated sacrifice, melancholy, the feeling of loneliness and dislocation. From a historic criticism perspective, the three stories center around cultural mismatch and dissonance that accelerate cases of estrangement, fueling anxiety among strangers who do not fit in the United States’ cultural systems.

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From a cultural perspective, Children as Enemies showcases the extent of dissonance whereby Qigan Xi and Hua could not fit in the American education system due to the fact that fellow students mispronounced their names. Also, they failed to understand how the children perceived them as mere visitors rather than relatives who sacrificed a lot to join them in the United States. The feeling of isolation and destitution sets in the moment children explicitly demonstrated their dissatisfaction of living with the old folks under the same roof, thus necessitating their moving out and renting an apartment away from the people they perceived as family. The intellectual and cultural mismatch between the old folks and their grandchildren accentuates the feelings of darkness and isolation brought about by a paradigm shift in social and historical contexts.

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That is, with assimilation as a product of social and cultural shift, individual decisions and choice of action shifts from socially accepted norms. Ha asserts this by showcasing Gubin’s inability to protect his parents from the misdemeanor perpetrated by his children. For instance, cultural and expectations mismatch led to Meifen’s melancholy due to her inability to socialize with Connie, her son’s American wife, forcing Tian to play a fulcrum role of easing the unending tensions between his mother and his wife. In another instance, Ha illustrates Meifen’s cynic conclusion of Connie’s inability to bear Tian healthy and talented children as informed by the conventional observation that women ought to pose their career advancements for the purposes of establishing a family at a younger age (pp.

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In the same fashion, Meifen fails to understand the circumstances that led his son to divorce his Chinese fiancé just to end up with an American who showed little grasp of conventional practices such as home-making, cooking and appreciation of her mother-in-law. In the bid to cope up with the situation, Tian and Connie struggle to abandon their “American” lifestyle to accommodate their nauseating mother who veered off the American and modern social fabric at slightest provocation. In this case, melancholy provides a social platform of evaluating the story from a historical perspective, while at the same time helping shed some light on the prospects of voluntary exile. Occupational decisions, in this case, align with sacrifices that the characters had to make to either fit into the society or distance themselves from the predicaments to start a new life.

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In reality, the concept of assimilation comes with the feeling of dislocation or latent exile and torn identity (Horowitz 1), as evident in the three stories, and as complemented by Clarissa’s article “Dissident author Ha Jin on life in Boston and exile from China. ” In her postulations, she observes that Jin’s struggle to survive in Boston resulted from the immediate feeling of dislocation the moment he landed in the United States due to cultural dissonance. For instance, she observes though language was the driving pillar of Jin’s creativity, his choice and employment of English as mode of communication in his literal works elucidated mixed feelings from his fellow citizen in the United States and in China (Sebag-Montefiore 1). In China, for instance, his audience felt that he invested his energy in foreign language rather than sticking to his native Mandarin in expressing his ideas.

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In Temporary Love, the themes of sacrifice and loneliness are evident in Lina’s decision to cater for her husband’s MBA expenses despite the intuitive feeling that they would separate once he finished his studies (p. In a twist of events, the fact that Lina could not understand who disclosed to the husband about her affair with Panbin forced her to make unmetered sacrifices that would buy her loyalty back. In context, by intertwining the themes of sacrifice and loneliness, Ha seeks to complement character and story development by explicating the two themes in a causal relationship (Jockers and Mimno 752). That is, loneliness at one point in characters’ lives led to the realization of the importance of sacrifice in keeping the relationship.

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