Traditions Vs. Personal Values Essay

831 words - 4 pages

The average person wants one thing more than anything else, and that thing is to belong. Without interaction human beings are known to experience aggression, depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders, with a majority ending with murder and suicide as a side effect of not acknowledging the problem. The one group in society with the most occurrences is teenagers. Due to the fact of at that age, a person must discover who they are and what they want to be all the while having to deal with the viewpoints of others looming over them. The latest fashions, social media, among other things are all used to judge a person’s social standing, which can cause stress in some people. Even though teenagers are most often afflicted with peer-related stress, adults are not much safer. Money figures, marital status, and living standards are a few reasons why adults develop mental diseases. Cultural background can be a major obstacle for both age groups. Usha and her adopted Uncle Pranab Kaku from the story Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri are prime examples. Both cross the boundaries of integrating into a society that differs from what their culture stems from. Such boundaries are social status and traditions.
Usha, as a young girl from Calcutta, India, has trouble integrating with American society due in part to the deep ingraining of her parents strict code of conduct. For example, as custom of Bengali women, women must where the traditional formal wear called “shalwar kameez” to formal gatherings. Usha feels isolated when she must where this formal dress to Deborah and Pranab Kaku’s Thanksgiving event, saying “I was furious with my mother for making a scene before we left the house and forcing me to wear a shalwar kameez. I knew they [Deborah’s siblings] assumed, from my clothing, that I had more in common with the other Bengalis than with them” (648).
After the wedding of her uncle, Usha began to show the signs of rebellion against her mother’s reign: “As we drove home from the wedding I told my mother, for the first but not the last time in my life, that I hated her” (646). After entering middle school, Usha began to berate and ignore her mother’s requests, even going so far as to taunt her about Pranab Kaku’s abandonment of their family. She would also go to parties behind her parent’s backs, to drink and perform sexual acts. Later, she started to wear typical American attire...

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