Themes 1) The Indian immigrant’s struggle in a new country. “The pace of life in North America is different from Britain, as you will soon discover”, the guidebook informed me. “Everybody feels he must get to the top. Don’t expect an English cup of tea. ” “Car horns, shrill and prolonged, blared one after another. Flashing sirens heralded endless emergencies, and a fleet of buses rambled past their doors opening and closing with a powerful hiss, throughout the night. The noise was constantly distracting, at times suffocating. ” 2) The Indian immigrant’s fear of losing his own culture. In 1969, when I was thirty-six years old, my own marriage was arranged. ” – The fact that he had an arranged marriage proves he doesn’t want to lose his culture and go the Western way. 3) The methods of steps of copying to a new culture and a new life in America. “In a week I had adjusted, more or less. I ate cornflakes and milk morning and night, and bought some bananas for variety, slicing them into the bowl with the edge of my spoon. In addition I bought tea bags and a flask, which the salesman in Woolworth’s referred to as a thermos (a flask, he informed me, was used to store whiskey, another thing I had never consumed). For the price of one cup of tea at a coffee shop, I filled the flask with boiling water on the way to work each morning, and brewed the four cups I drank in the course of the day. I bought a larger carton of milk, and learned to leave it on the shaded part of the windowsill, as I had seen other residents at the YMCA do. To pass the time in the evenings I read the Boston Globe downstairs, in a spacious room with stained-glass windows. I read every article and advertisement, so that I would grow familiar with things, and when my eyes grew tired I slept. ” Questions ) Explain how the narrator’s last visit to Mrs. Croft is significant. Give two reasons. Support your answer with the phrases/words. The narrator and his wife, Mala, had visited Mrs. Croft one last time. During this visit, Mrs. Croft acted as an icebreaker. She broke the tension between Mala and the narrator. Ever since Mala arrived, the narrator saw her as a part of his life, a duty. At the visit, Mrs. Croft asked the narrator a question, which led to him answering with, “Splendid! ” This caused Mala to laugh and Mrs. Croft wondered who she was. After a slight introduction, Mrs. Croft replied with, “She is a perfect lady! ” causing Mala and the narrator to look at each other and smile. The moment with Mrs. Croft, was described by the narrator as “the moment when the distance between Mala and me began to lessen”. 2) Explain the title of the short story. The title shows that the narrator could survive life on three continents, while adapting perfectly. This title means to show readers that feats can be accomplished if they are set out to be. If the narrator could survive on three continents, then people can accomplish what they intend to as well. It also shows that it took three continents for the narrator to finally adapt – in America. 3) Depict how the narrator’s relationship with Mala evolved. The writer’s relationship with Mala first started out as tense. He felt that his marriage was like a job, something he had to wake up to and live with for the rest of his day till he went to sleep, and the cycle continued for as long as they were married. There was no feeling or love, it was just a step taken by Indians in order to feel secure in their lives. It was their sense of security in the world, and marriage was their way of dealing. When Mrs. Croft exclaimed that Mala was ‘a perfect lady’ I think both the narrator and Mala realized that if Mrs. Croft could learn to accept something new so quickly, then they could learn to embrace a new relationship. And so, the eventually fell in love, gotten used to each other, and led a happy marriage with a son who lived up to his Bengali parent’s expectations which sticking to the Indian culture, even all the way at Harvard.
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