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Anita And Me Essay

726 words - 3 pages

“Too mouthy, clumsy and scabby to be a real Indian girl, too Indian to be a real Tollington wench”
Meera Syal’s portrayal of Meena in Anita and me is reflective of her own issues on identity and cultural integration. The author’s life is mirrored through Meena throughout the novel in a semi-autobiographical manner. Syal shares similarities with her central character Meena, starting with the migration from India to England as well as coming from an Indian Diaspora. Syal explores issues of culture in the novel as a way to publicise the concept of hybridity and its effect both on the culture Meena inherits and her parent’s heritage. In regards to cultural integration the question of identity arises, how someone perceives themselves as opposed to how someone perceives themselves is two different aspects, determined on how people react to such an individual. George Herbert Mead claims that identity is formed in a “social context and through the individuals thinking about what links him/her to the world.” Social structures stop an individual from inheriting certain identities, such as Meena trying to fit in to the culture of Tollington, however the notion of social change opens up ways in which a hybrid identity is formed of two cultures, this is seen through the character if Meena as she develops her thinking and feelings of embracing a new way of life in England whilst balancing this with her parents Indian culture at home.
The way in which Syal uses language to utilise her character’s on going trouble in adapting to a culture is significant due to the fact that Meena is being forced to obey and relate to the Indian culture by her parents. Meena’s only escape is through language, the ways in which language is used by the central character shape her identity in terms of how others perceive of her. “She sings Punjabi with a Birmingham accent” Meena identifies with the culture she now lives in by acquiring the East Midlands accent. In doing so she causes complication due to the other characters and the judgement she receives by them in regards to her ethnicity, the characters not being able to see past her ethnicity are...

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