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Assimilation: the Good and the Bad

In: English and Literature

Submitted By eunoia
Words 1094
Pages 5
When one assimilates into a new culture, they are often conflicted because they are put into a setting that they are not accustomed to. People who are put into a new environment often want to feel like they are a part of the new culture and not feel alienated. By letting go of some of the old traditions and culture, they are allowing themselves to experience and adapt to a new environment. Even though parts of the old culture are lost, a new cultural experience is being created which helps widens their perspective. Although things like language and cultural traditions are lost, assimilating allows for people to gain a new way of understanding the world around them as well as create new traditions.
Assimilating allows for a person to experience new things that they otherwise wouldn’t have if they didn’t. In Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, Ashima and Ashoke are exposed to the American life and it changes their view of how different their life is in their Bengali culture compared to the American culture. The change takes on a bigger toll for Ashima as she has to live in a life that she is unprepared for. When Ashima gives birth to Gogol, she realizes how difficult it would be for her to raise her son in an environment that is completely foreign to her. Although she still tries to get accustomed to the new culture, she often finds ways to preserve some of her old Bengali traditions such as when she and Ashoke are deciding a name for Gogol or when they celebrate Gogol’s annaprasan. Gogol’s annaprasan was a way for them to keep their Bengali tradition. Unlike American culture, in Bengali culture there is “no baptism for Bengali babies, no ritualistic naming in the eyes of God. Instead, the first formal ceremony of their lives centers on the consumption of solid food” (Lahiri p.38). During the celebration, she would wish that “her own brother [was there] to feed him” and…...

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