TODAY'S BOOK: INTERPRETER OF MALADIES BY JHUMPA LAHIRI
Going through each story one by one and discussing the issues each one addresses I will leave to all of you-- something that could very well occur in the comments below ;)! Today, I will talk about a theme of Asian-American identity that I believe was discussed in all of these stories in one way or another.
This theme would be difficult to describe in one sentence, or even in one paragraph. Essentially, it is the phenomenon of fascination of culture. After reading this book, I believe that Lahiri (the author) thinks Indian culture is beautiful to behold. The way that she describes the culture: the decadent scents of the food, the vibrant colors of the clothing, the character of the elderly, and the romantic aspects of the country itself-- while it may be because of her phenomenal writing skills, it is also obvious that she herself has interacted with all of these things, and adores it. The characters in her novel express the same interests--while some are South-Asian American and some are not, they all make an effort to interact with the culture, whether it be through food, personal interactions, etc...
I feel very similarly about my Japanese culture. As you have seen in this blog, I am a bit obsessed with it-- I lovingly photograph the food of my childhood, I take class after class in traditional Japanese culture, history, and literature, and I watch Japanese dramas pretty relentlessly(#noshame). Through such experiences, I am constantly struggling to figure out my identity. But in doing so, every time I learn something, it's like a breakthrough! Finally, I understand why this tradition exists. Why my parents think this is important. Why the food I eat is this way. Why I am who I am. Reading Interpreter of Maladies, I feel a very similar vibe from the author.
This theme is not just the theme for this book, but a theme of Asian-American identity. To develop this identity, it's not only about acknowledging it exists. It's about knowing, understanding, and interpreting why the culture is the way it is. This is the reason I encourage education in Asian and Asian-American history; because in the history lies the culture, and in understanding the culture, its existence and awareness grows stronger.
Basically, I'm telling you guys to read more. :D I certainly need to. And this book is a great place to start, or continue where you left off. I hope you enjoyed today's blog post!
Until next time,