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Second Generation Immigration: Finding A Balance Between Two Cultures

774 words - 4 pages

The immigrant’s journey to America, as depicted throughout history, transports culture, language, beliefs and unique lifestyles from one land to the other, but also requires one to undergo an adaptation process. The children of these immigrants, who are usually American-born, experience the complexity of a bicultural life, even without completely connecting to the two worlds to which they belong. Potentially resulting is the internal desire to claim a singular rather than dual identity, for simplicity, pride and a sense of acceptance. Jhumpa Lahiri, an Indian-American author and writer of “My Two Lives” could never classify herself as.
Lahiri, a second-generation immigrant, endures the difficulty of living in the middle of her hyphenated label “Indian-American”, whereas she will never fully feel Indian nor fully American, her identity is the combination of her attributes, everything in between.
In “My Two Lives”, Jhumpa Lahiri tells of her complicated upbringing in Rhode Island with her Calcutta born-and-raised parents, in which she continually sought a balance between both her Indian and American sides. She explains how she differs from her parents due to immigration, the existent connections to India, and her development as a writer of Indian-American stories. “The Freedom of the Inbetween” written by Sally Dalton-Brown explores the state of limbo, or “being between cultures”, which can make second-generation immigrants feel liberated, or vice versa, trapped within the two (333). This work also discusses how Lahiri writes about her life experiences through her own characters in her books. Charles Hirschman’s “Immigration and the American Century” states that immigrants are shaped by the combination of an adaptation to American life and a connection to the homeland. Many immigrants have used their experiences to spread the word, and with that, have played a role in impacting and shaping American culture, as it once shaped them. Anita Sharma’s “Identity Crisis in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake” expands on the idea that members of two different worlds cannot fully pursue one identity that suits them and disregard the other, but instead will always be composed of both to some extent. These works each explain how second-generation immigrants find their identity in their individual sense of belonging to something...

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