The Land of Opportunity
After reading Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine, I got the feeling that Jasmine, on her long journey in this novel, is indeed an American. Not only did she celebrate an American/Christian holiday, Christmas, although, she was a widow and vowed never to get married because of her values or practices to her religion, she did have multiple lovers. She may have been born and raised in India, practicing Hinduism, but to me, she definitely is Indo-American.
In addition, Jasmine’s origin of culture is of course her Indian culture. She was born into poverty in a small village called Hasnapur with 8 siblings. However, her being born into poverty, didn’t stop her from having dreams. She wanted to learn and she was the best in her class in English composition. As Bharati Mukherjee writes in her article, Beyond Multiculturalism: Surviving the Nineties.
I see American culture as a culture of dreamers, who believe that material shape (which is not the same as materialism) can be given to dreams. They believe that one’s station in life-poverty, education, family background- does not determine one’s fate (Muhkerjee p.29)
Jasmine had dreams, and being born without money didn’t determine her fate. Even though her father mocked and laughed at her when she told him her dream of becoming a doctor. In their culture, you get married to someone you don’t even know, get pregnant and raise children. Also, in their culture when their spouse dies, like Jasmine’s husband, they cannot get remarried. However, she wanted more for herself. She wanted an education and to move to America, which she did.
When she got to America and lived here for a couple years, her culture did change. Even before she lived here for not even a day, she murdered a man after he raped her. In most cultures that is frowned upon but, given the circumstances, I don’t blamed her. She was the victim. However, a culture of her Indian heritage that didn’t change was she was...