Imagine moving from water to land, from earth to space. Imagine How difficult of a shift in environment that would be. While these are extreme examples, they help to better understand how a transition in climate can affect someone. Through the Mrs.Sen, Mr.Pirzada, and Bibi Haldar are examples as an example of adapting well thanks to the kindness of others. Through the experiences that Bibi Haldar, Mrs. Sen, and Mr.Pirzada go through, Jhumpa Lahiri shows the challenges involved when trying to adapt to a new environment, and how difficult it really is to adapt to a new situation.
In The Treatment of Bibi Haldar, Bibi is an outcast, ostracized by her own society, her illness barring her from climbing up the social ladder. Bibi is plagued with a horrible condition, which causes her to go into violent fits and seizures. This causes her to be looked down upon by her community and shunned to do inventory for her cruel caretakers, Mrs. Haldar, and Mr. Haldar. A line from the text that perfectly represents the calamity of Bibi’s condition is on page 159, where the the author says: “Liable to fall unconscious and enter, at any moment, into a shameless delirium, Bibi could be trusted neither to cross a street nor board a tram without supervision.” (Lahiri 159). Another example of where Bibi is ostracized is where it says, “The nature of her illness, which struck without warning, confined her world to the unpainted four-story building in which her only local family, an elder cousin and his wife, rented an apartment on the second floor.” (Lahiri 159). This shows how her ailment impacted her life greatly and isolated her to her cousin’s apartment. It really shows how her sickness impacted her life in a major way. “Liable to fall unconscious and enter, at any moment, into a shameless delirium, Bibi could be trusted neither to cross a street nor board a tram without supervision.” (Lahiri 159). This evidence shows her illness affects her daily life, and how hard it was for her to be exposed to the outside world. Bibi’s struggle with her illness and her struggle to adapt perfectly represent how lack of support and being ostracized can take a major toll on a person, and why you should attempt to coexist with people who are not like you.
In Mrs.Sen’s, Mrs.Sen struggles with conforming to an unfamiliar culture in America, a noticeably different environment than her home of India. Mrs.Sen is given the responsibility of Eliot while his mother is at work, and Eliot observes her battle with adapting to American Culture, with no support from her regimenting husband. I “It is impossible to fall asleep those nights, listening to their chatter.” She paused to look at a pine tree framed by the living room window. “Here, in this place where Mr. Sen has brought me, I cannot sometimes sleep in so much silence.”(Lahiri 115). This shows the shift in environment socially for Mrs.Sen and her struggle with adapting to a new environment. “She added that while the fish there tasted nothing like the fish in India, at least it was fresh.”(Lahiri 118). Hear, Mrs. Sen tries to make the best out of an unfavorable situation but has little to no support from family/others. Mrs.Sen struggles to adapt to a new cultural and physical environment and struggles due to lack of support. (non-helpful husband and Eliot being a bystander) .
An example of a more successful acclimation to a new setting is in Mr. Pirzada Comes To Dine, when Mr.Pirzada had support from loving friends to help him through tough times. In Mr.Pirzada comes to dine, Mr.Pirzada is going through a very tough time, when he is living in a different country and the safety of his family is uncertain, but with people around him who support him and love him, he could adapt much easier and be comfortable in his environment. “As a result, Mr. Pirzada lived in a room in a graduate dormitory and did not own a proper stove or a television set. And so he came to our house to eat dinner and watch the evening news. At first, I knew nothing of the reason for his visits. I was ten years old, and was not surprised that my parents, who were from India, and had a number of Indian acquaintances at the university, should ask Mr. Pirzada to share our meals.”(Lahiri 24). When Mr.Pirzada was in a foreign country, these kind people took him in and befriended him, giving him support through his tough times, better helping him adapt to a new environment. An example of this is where it says “so he came to our house to eat dinner and watch the evening news.” This shows how when his family and country were in danger, he was supported by others which allowed him to cope better. Another quote that shows their closeness is when the text says: “The next evening Mr. Pirzada arrived, as usual, at six o’clock. Though they were no longer strangers, upon first greeting each other, he and my father maintained the habit of shaking hands. Come in, sir. Lilia, Mr. Pirzada’s coat, please.” When it says “The next evening Mr. Pirzada arrived, as usual, at six o’clock.”, this shows how much time they spent with each other, and shows how Mr.Pirzada was taken in when his family’s safety was uncertain, and his country was split based on religion.
Through the experiences that Bibi Haldar, Mrs. Sen, and Mr.Pirzada go through, Jhumpa Lahiri shows the challenges involved when trying to adapt to a new environment, and how having support can go a long way. Bibi Haldar struggled to adapt to her environment due to lack of support and being ostracized, which are similar to Mrs.Sen’s struggles to adapt to a new cultural environment and struggles due to lack of support. (non-helpful husband and Eliot being a bystander). Thanks to support from others, Mr.Pirzada was able to get through tough times and adapt to a new environment. This is why to better help your community and the people in it or trying to fit in it, you should be supportive and inviting.
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