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Jasmine's Assimilation

             The book Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee touches on many different aspects of the life of an immigrant. From the struggles of traveling, to love, to confusion in identity, Jasmine experiences it all. The most prominent theme though of this book is assimilation. Does Jasmine ever truly escape her old Hindi ways? Or has she really become the American that she desires to be? It is clear throughout the story though, from her experiences in Florida with Lillian, to her life with Professorji in New York, her life with Taylor, Wylie, and Duff, all the way until her life with Bud and Du, Jasmine is never able to fully abandon her old Indian life, and replace it with a new, all-American life.
             Jasmine's first adventure in America takes place in Florida, where she is still encompassed by her old life. First, Jasmine experiences a terrible rape. Once over, she symbolically ends her old life in honor of starting a new one. However, Jasmine chooses to still keep her Ganpati, a symbol of Indian culture and religion. She is unable to fully let go of her life in Indian and start a totally complete new life. As Jasmine is saved by a woman named Lillian, she is taught how to become American. From her walk to her talk, Lillian explains it all, as if it were schooling, on how to act American. One can teach a person to act differently, but that does not mean that they are fully changed on the inside. From Florida, she travels North, in hopes of finding comfort in New York with her late husband's professor and his family.
             As Jasmine travels to New York, it becomes even more evident that she has not assimilated into American culture. In fact, the life she lives with Professorji is exactly like the lives of those who live in India. Jasmine despises this life, and feels trapped, since she does not have the resources to move on. Regardless though, Jasmine chose to live this life so similar to the life she lead in India.

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