Unaccustomed Earth

Cultural Identity: Connecting to the Indian Roots in Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Unaccustomed Earth” College

In the story “Unaccustomed Earth” by Jhumpa Lahiri, the main character Ruma and her son Akash, are visited in Seattle by her father. Her husband, Adam, “would be away that week, on another business trip” (5). Ruma and her father’s relationship is presented as a less close one than the one she had with her mother, who was very helpful and active in her communication with Ruma while with the father, “[she] had never spent a week alone” (6). The father has been traveling in Europe since his wife’s death and his relationship with Ruma weaken as after the mother’s death, Ruma assumed the Duty of calling her father and “[T]he calls were less frequent now” (4). Throughout the visit, the story explores the issues that Ruma and her father face in communicating with each other while struggling with their cultural identities. As many researchers argue that Ruma is an Americanized character, it is interesting to discuss the possibility of Ruma expressing a connection to the culture she learned about from her Bengali parents. Therefore, while it appears in the story that Ruma is more connected to her American identity. As such we may ask if it is possible to argue that she is also connected to her Indian roots? Yes, as this essay argues...

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