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Two Ways To Belong In America

            Bharati Mukherjee illustrates an example of adapting to a conventional American culture and its effects on a person's identity in the essay "Two Ways to Belong in America." She begins the story by providing some background information about herself and her sister inevitably leading up to the debate over the "two sides". .
             Mukherjee and her sister had grown up in Calcutta, India with the same family, held the same values, possessed the same future goals and "were almost identical in appearance and attitude" (453). As a result of their experiences in America, their choice of lifestyles, the Mukherjee sisters now have very different views, future plans and different opinions on many topics. While her sister held her heritage and culture very close, Mukherjee adapted to the American culture in which she lived. While Mira states that she feels "some kind of irrational attachment to India that I don't to America (455)," Mukherjee, claims that, "America spoke to me-I married it" (455).
             Mukherjee portrays her sister as a well educated, pleasant woman, that hasn't embraced America as she has, despite some of the requirements posed on immigrants. She is, "professionally generous and creative, socially courteous and gracious," (455) but, "that's as far as her Americanization can go. She is here to maintain an identity, not to transform it." 455). .
             Mukherjee tries to point out that she may not really understand Mira's point of view simply because she doesn't live the kind of lifestyle in which Mira participates. Her way of life "is not just of the immigrant South Asian community but of an immigrant community of the millions who have stayed rooted in one job, one city, one house, one ancestral culture, one cuisine, for the entirety of their productive years. She speaks for greater numbers than I possibly can." (455). However, this sort of sentiment contrasts Mukherjee's previous question, "Which of us is the freak?" (455).

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