Digging To America Essay

836 words - 4 pages

Digging to America by Anne Tyler depicts the story of how two vastly different families, the Donaldsons, a suburban American family, and the Yazdans, an Iranian family, come to befriend each other. The two families meet coincidentally at a Baltimore airport, awaiting the arrival of their newly adopted daughters from Korea. The Yazdans adopt Sooki, while the Donaldsons adopt Jin-Ho. “The Donaldsons, out of courtesy, invite the Yazdans to a celebration for the newly adopted infants, leading to the development of friendship amongst them. Throughout the story, the author contrasts the different views on modern culture and traditions in America. The Donaldsons keep Jin-Ho's Korean name and try to preserve her Korean heritage by dressing her in Korean clothes, whereas the Yazdans Americanize Sooki's name to Susan, but eventually call her Susie-june. The two families keep in touch after the Arrival Party and treat each other as family. Years pass and Jin-Ho changes as she grows up and asks to be called Jo instead. Susie-june learns how to speak Farsi, the Persian language. This is discovered when she overhears her father complaining about Bitsy Donaldson's personality. She asks, “Is Bitsy bad?”(102), with Sami responding “No Susie-june. Never mind, I guess I'm just feeling irritable” (102). As he was pondering for the word “irritable”, he realized that they were both speaking Farsi.

The story consists of many characters, but it does not have a lone main character. Every character's background is explored quite thoroughly, giving you an idea of their personality as well. For instance, Maryam is a religious, independent Iranian woman who treasures her country's customs and values, despite living in the US for decades. She values her cultural traditions deeply because she is from an older generation. When she was young, she attended university in Iran and immigrated to America to get married. Her husband died when her son Sami was a teenager and ever since she never wanted to remarry. However, her thoughts become complicated after Dave Donaldson proposes his love to her.

Maryam's son, Sami, is an American-born Iranian who is opinionated but cares for his family a lot. In the story he says that he wants to be “a father who [is] relaxed” (83) with a wife who is “sporty rather than exotic” (83).His personality is first displayed when he laughs, “She (Maryam) had a proxy wedding all by...

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