Title: “The Namesake”
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Lahiri beautifully crafts her novel “The Namesake” to document how an Indian woman, Ashima Ganguli, tries to keep her culture alive and well when she moves from India to the United States with her husband, Ashoke. Upon arriving in the U.S., Ashima experiences culture shock. She feels marginalized and discriminated against. Once she has children, her feelings of missing home become worse. Ashima tries to raise her children with the traditions she acquired from India, but they soon become consumed by American customs. Her son Gogol, tries to stray away from his Indian roots, which causes conflict between the family. Through the use of rich imagery and strong writing style, Lahiri teaches readers the importance of being proud of their culture because it makes them who they are. In addition, Lahiri also comments on the immigration experience, allowing the readers to catch a glimpse of what it’s like to be a stranger in a unfamiliar world.
Title: “The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts”
Author: Maxine Hong-Kingston
Hong-Kingston documents her life growing up as a Chinese-American girl in California by weaving together Chinese myths along with family stories to show readers what it was like being raised in two vastly different worlds. The book is divided into five chapters, and each of them show Hong-Kingston transforming from a young girl to an adult without necessarily naming her as the primary character. Overall, the book is a journey to the formation of a solid identity. It is difficult to forge one because Hong-Kingston grew up with Chinese traditions, but American customs surrounded her wherever she went. The titles of the chapters even show the readers Hong-Kingston’s journey and how she went from a silent “No Name Woman” in the first chapter to someone who finally finds her voice in the the last chapter titled “A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe”.