individuals and community

Category: Sociology,
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Race and Racial, Writers

Native American, Sherman Alexie

“Society exists just as a mental concept, inside the real world you will discover only persons. ” These are generally the words in the 19th century writer and poet Oscar Wilde, and in addition they perfectly demonstrate the oft-contentious dispute among individualism and conformity to the community. Without a doubt, this challenge has played out through the pages of history, and it is difficult to objectively state that either in the extremes delivers better outcomes or a even more correct response. On the side advocating conformity to community, you will discover both unforgiving despots whom wished to carve men in to machines, like Stalin, and cherished apostles of social betterment, just like Mother Teresa. On the other hand, promoting individualism and relative disregard of larger society, you observe both superb writers, much like the above-mentioned Oscar Wilde, and cruelly apathetic hedonists, which include Nero and many other Roman emperors of the 1st century.

In reality, nevertheless, few people have got devoted all their lives to advocating either extreme conformity or serious individualism, because have the aforementioned individuals. Rather, most people keep views somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, incorporating bits of both equally theories. If the debate truly does surface now, it will do so quite tacitly, most likely through a selected slant or implication regarding society once discussing current events or simply through significance and invisible meaning in works of literature that focus on protagonists who will be “outsiders. inch The short stories “The Third and Final Continent” by Jhumpa Lahiri and “What You Pawn, Let me Redeem” by Sherman Alexie are ideal examples of this latter scenario. Both of the stories reflect an individual from an outside world, so to speak, planning to live in another society. This kind of, however , is where the similarities end. While “The Third and Last Continent” retains that “outsider” individuals could become a part of world and benefit from it without needing to lose their tradition and dignity through complete conformity, “What You Pawn, I Will Redeem” gives a much more dark conclusion, declaring that conformity in a new community is definitely difficult to attain, but individuals who do not attain it will be destroyed up and spit away, with a lack of tradition and dignity producing either way.

In his various adventures around three prude, the narrator in “The Third and Final Continent” always handles to successfully blend himself into a fresh society, in small and large clothing, all the while hanging on to both his traditions and his pride. The narrator never does not remember to bring a little slice of his “first continent” exactly where he moves. For example , working in london, before this individual has arrived in the us, the narrator speaks of attending the London School of Economics while living “in a family house occupied totally by penniless Bengali bachelor like me personally, at least a dozen and sometimes more” (1216). At the same time, he and his roommates sip tea while smoking Rothman’s, a prominent Uk cigarette, that they listen to classic Indian music on a western-made reel-to-reel mp3 player.

All in all, this shows that the narrator is definitely keen on holding onto his customs, and the reality he is able to easily do so is actually a comment by the author. Getting into a new contemporary society does not necessarily indicate losing just of the old society, your woman seems to declare. Indeed, repeatedly, it is stressed that the narrator not only desires to maintain his traditions although factoring in a lot of aspects of his new community, but that he is approved for doing this. One specifically charming, if perhaps understated, instance of this state of affairs is the narrator’s meal strategy after his wife, Equivocada, arrives. “I¦ [came] residence to an condo that smelled of steamed rice, inch says the Narrator, “The next morning when I came into your kitchen, [Mala] experienced already added the cornflakes into my own bowl” (1225-1226). This blending of Of india cuisine for lunch and American fare for breakfast suggests the best harmony of cultures within a mundane method. After all, if the narrator says he likes cereal for breakfast, his better half does not softball bat an eye, and when this individual comes home for an Indian supper, he feeds on it as a taste of home that he would certainly not (and should certainly not) refuse himself. As if this had not been enough, there are numerous more testaments to enlightening blending of old lifestyle with a new community littered over the story. Equivoca, for instance, dons an Of india sari every single day, but it is usually not frowned on by the community. Indeed, when the narrator requires her to fulfill Mrs. Croft, he feels to him self, “I wondered what she would object to. I wondered if she could start to see the red absorb dyes still brilliant on Mala’s feet, all but obscured by the bottom edge of her sari. At last Mrs. Croft reported, ‘She is a perfect lady! ‘” (1227). This kind of delightful response on the part of Mrs. Croft illustrates what the tale hammers into our heads again and again: areas are not in any way incompatible with outside people and their traditions.

In stark comparison to the successful mixing of cultures in “The Third and Last Continent, inches the societal blending in “What You Pawn, Let me Redeem” is usually messy and unsuccessful, fraught with stories of misplaced heritage. The most strikingly apparent testament to this can be a homelessness from the main figure and, certainly, most of the Natives in the history. It plainly indicates that, for one reason yet another, the desired goals and tribulations of the Native Americans were not reconcilable with American culture. This testament, however , is furthered immensely with the description of Jackson, the protagonist: “I grew up in Spokane, relocated to Seattle twenty-three years ago for college, flunked out within just two semesters, worked different blue- and bluer-collar careers for many years, committed two or three times, fathered two or three children, and then travelled crazy” (1246). The downward spiral of Jackson’s life, in that case, began if he moved from his American indian family to Spokane, in a new community. Thus the implication here is that getting into a new community does indeed mean losing the bearings provided by the community, plus it means that not any new bearings can be received until very hard conformity and assimilation happen to be achieved. Jackson’s story is definitely not the only person, however.

There are many even more Indians inside the story whose lives pay tribute to both the difficulty of conformity and the harmful results to be unable to adjust. “Most with the homeless Indians in Seattle, ” Jackson notes, “come from Alaska. One by one, every one of them hopped a major working boat¦ to Seattle¦ [partied] hard at one of many highly sacred and classic Indian pubs, went shattered and broker, and continues to be trying to find his way back towards the boat as well as the frozen north ever since” (1249). Like Jackson, these kinds of Indians still left their homes with dazzling prospects, just to see everything spin out of control downward as they failed to adapt. This verse, however , makes note of something else. There exists an intense irony in football hard for a almost holy, traditional Indian bar, and this suggests a real loss of custom and history. All Indians, even those who ended up unable to conform, found their valued traditions trampled in the process, replaced with the American value of your good party even as we were holding still struggling to conform and fit in. This constitutes a punch on each cheek, and it also provides new meaning to the homelessness of the Natives in the tale (and the rootlessness in the few using a home). They could not assimilate into the white colored community, and the process, they will lost anything that makes them Indigenous American, hindering a return to this community. The Native Americans in “What You Pawn, Let me Redeem” truly are destitute in every feeling of the term.

Going into his “Third and Final Place, ” the narrator of that story sails on a the case coming-of age group journey, for his fresh community influences him in an undeniably great way, straight preparing him for the rest of his life. When he first leaves India, the narrator is usually but boys. He is unmarried. He does not have any job. This individual doesn’t have a great deal of formal education. While this individual gains these of these 3 things in the uk, it is undeniably that the narrator truly comes of age in his third continent, America, especially through his interactions with Mrs. Croft. Over the period he consumes with Mrs. Croft, the narrator begins to feel a sense of duty toward her. Initially, this is apparent simply inside the ritual that he performs every night, keeping Mrs. Croft company on the bench and telling her how “splendid” it is the American flag is now for the moon. Following he understands of her age, he is very impressed, and this individual offers to heat up her soup, though Mrs. Crofts daughter transforms down the provide. The narrator laments, “There was nothing at all I could do for her beyond these straightforward gestures” (1224). However , we have a tinge of admiration noticeable in his words when he explains to Mala that “for one of the most part [Mrs. Croft] protects herself” (1226), despite her age. This kind of admiration, this desire to take care of another person is created up in the narrator by simply Mrs. Croft. When Mrs. Croft finally meets Equivoca, she reports, “She is a perfect lady! inches (1227). In giving the narrator her seal of approval, the narrators maintain Mrs. Croft is, in ways, bestowed after Mala, it can be this event that begins to spark the love inside their relationship. In this manner, it is due to narrator’s fresh community that he grew into a very good, caring spouse. It should not be ignored that the narrator’s new community readily presented him with numerous additional positive issues. He easily obtained work, he found a house without any find of discrimination, he grew emotionally older, living on his own for the first time. Inspite of these essential positive efforts, it was Mrs. Croft whose contribution was greatest, nevertheless either way, the 3rd continent and its particular community had been undeniably makes for good inside the narrator’s your life.

However, our outsider protagonist in “What You Pawn, I Will Redeem, inches is in a negative way affected by the community, his interactions with the people of Detroit hearkening immediately back to relationships between White settlers and Native Americans such a long time ago. Transactions with Native Americans from the seventeenth through the early on 20th generations were proclaimed by treat gifts of all things from gold and silver to foodstuff and alcohol to “protected” reservation land in exchange pertaining to “just slightly bit” with their current, vulnerable, unguarded, isolated, exposed, unshielded, at risk land. In line with the government, they did not even individual that property, anyway. Eventually, the tribes began to count on these items, economically and socially, although once the availability of land, the only truly long lasting resource, acquired dried up, the flow of gifts was choked away, and they were utterly messed up (Banner 51). They dropped both their self-sufficiency and their dignity. Was your little bit of shielded land that they held on to truly their own if it was tossed at them just like some sort of gift? Just the same, the whites of Seattle’s community that Knutson befriends happen to be constantly offering him “gifts. ” The moment Jackson is attempting to raise cash to buy the regalia, the pawnbroker decides to help him a bit: “He opened up his wallet and pulled out a crisp twenty-dollar bill and gave it to me” (1249). Occasions after getting the money, Jackson went over to “7-Eleven and spent this to buy three bottles of imagination” (1249). This signifies the manner where the Indian people lost their very own trades and abilities in the face of gifts given by European settlers.

The prompt expenses of the money on liquor also portrays something much deeper. It signifies the volitile manner of alcoholism unleashed upon the Native Americans as they became further determined by something that the particular white guy could give. If this was the only occasion in the history along these types of lines, even though, this significance could be created off. On the other hand, it happens time and time again. Jackson later on visits a newspaper publisher to buy a lot of newspapers to trade on the street pertaining to profit. With only five dollars to get initial expense, the company director says, “I’ll give you fifty papers totally free. But may tell any individual I did it” (1250). After selling five newspapers, Knutson promptly trashes the other 45 and spends the profit on some food. When Jackson wins $80, he usually spends it about alcohol. The moment Officer Williams, a friendly light policeman, gives Jackson $30, he usually spends it on some more food. All of this takes place in the course of per day, drawing an undeniable parallel among Jackson’s dependence on gifts and alcohol plus the dependence with the Native Americans within the settler’s “gifts” and alcoholic beverages. In the end, Knutson is given the regalia only as a surprise, likely foreshadowing that he will probably eventually that for liquor or a great time.

The irony in this, though, pulls one final parallel among Jackson’s scenario and that from the colonized Native Americans. The gift that was ultimately given to them, the regalia inside the former case and the “protected” reservation property in the other, already belonged to them in the first place. The numerous resemblances between the sad state of Native Americans inside the 19th century and Jackson’s situation in “What You Pawn, I Will Redeem” describes beyond doubt that Alexie intended to declare through his tale that an incomer can only be further harm by a community which has rejected him acknowledgement.

The narrator of “The Third and Last Continent” would not manage to modify much about his fresh community, but considering the story’s overall disagreement that larger societal conformity is unnecessary, the small, personal way that he does have an effect on his community is somewhat more than satisfactory. Just as one of the most prominent draw left for the narrator originate from Mrs. Croft, the most prominent change exacted upon the narrator’s new community was concentrated on Mrs. Croft. Mrs. Croft is a person very dedicated to the past, in no tiny part due to her era. For example , be aware her response when her daughter, Sue, speaks with the narrator 2nd floor: “It is definitely improper to get a lady and a man who aren’t married to one another to hold a private conversation without a chaperone! ” (1222). Although world Mrs. Croft echoes of is finished, she even now holds psychological attachment to it. It absolutely was, after all, that world of “chaste conversations inside the parlor” through which Mrs. Croft grew up. When ever Helen asks Mrs. Croft what she’d do if perhaps she saw a girl in a miniskirt, Mrs. Croft responds dryly, “I’d have her arrested” (1223).

As time advanced, Mrs. Croft slowly started to be more separate from and bitter toward her community. The narrator actually offers her hope. One day, the narrator hands his lease payment, punctually, directly to Mrs. Croft instead of placing it on the piano ledge. This touches her. She says nothing at all at first, but after the narrator returns in the evening, many hours later, your woman still keeps the repayment in her hands, expressing, “It was very sort of you! inch (1221). While this is a minor actions on the narrator’s part, these kinds of small acts of valiance have come to always be all that Mrs. Croft really desires, as stated above. After all, these acts of chivalry hearken back to Mrs. Croft’s time, a time where a guy would go up when a woman left a table or perhaps remove his hat in a woman’s presence. Indeed, Helen tells the narrator, “You’re the initial boarder she is ever known as a gentleman” (1222). Inside the final a few months of her life, the narrator gives Mrs. Croft something to think in, just like Mrs. Croft gives the narrator something to care for, in this way, he provides back to the city that helped him, possessing a positive influence on it. Ultimately, this is an alteration that the narrator exacts by using an individual, not the community, nevertheless since the account touts repair of individualism in the face of a new community as a great admirable, conceivable goal, there can be nothing more glorious than giving an old woman a single last desire.

Knutson of “What You Pawn, I Will Receive, ” likewise falls totally short of changing the larger community around him, but taking into consideration the story’s other message, this incapacity intended for change in the city has an entirely different that means. Recall that “What You Pawn, Let me Redeem” contains that the effect of a new community on an incomer is totally negative, leading to forced conformity, which usually winds up unsuccessful and, either way, robs the subject of his or her heritage. This is certainly directly as opposed to the positive a result of a new community on an outsider extolled in “The Third and Last Continent. ” Thus the previous is in need of modify and the second option is not really, so deficiencies in change in this kind of story can easily be a bad thing. (The aspect of the city in need of modify, of course , is usually its perpetuation of the older, indirectly-cruel take care of Native Americans. )

Jackson does indeed build close personal interactions with some white colored characters inside the story, not really too much different from the narrator’s relationship with Mrs. Croft in “The Third and Final Region. ” Specifically, note the interaction of Officer Williams with Jackson. “You guess I’d supply you with a thousand dollars if I recognized you’d straighten up your life, inches says Expert Williams. “He meant that, ” Knutson reassures all of us, “He was the second-best police officer I’d at any time known” (1256). At the end, though, Williams provides Jackson $30, perpetuating the cycle of his dependence on gifts in exchange for dignity. This previously-noted negative romantic relationship between Knutson and his community is additional indicated by simply another passage relating to Officer Jackson: “He’d given myself hundreds of candy bars over the years. I imagine he knew I was diabetic” (1255). A diabetic might crave glucose, but it will only further harm him/her. Just the same, Jackson demands the presents with which his white close friends provide him, but they just makes him more dependent on them, leading to him to lose his pride (and recollect that this, alone, parallels the larger situation of Native Americans).

Eventually, the reader is definitely left with the impression that, unlike in “The Third and Final Continent, inch individual human relationships with the conformed members of the community do not matter here, they have zero influence on the community or how that eventually treats the outsider. However , the conclusion of “What You Pawn, I Will Redeem” does offer one small glint of hope. “I moved off the pavement and into the intersection, inch says Knutson, adorned with his grandmother’s regalia, “Pedestrians halted. Cars ceased. The city halted. They all observed me boogie with my grandmother” (1260). That the whole city usually takes pause to focus on a destitute Native American man signifies that the community has recognized what their destructive behavior has made. Perhaps they will realize the sad irony in the happiness of a destitute Native American man, shunned from the terrain that should had been his, who may be thrilled to get that which hailed from him almost all along. All things considered, while Knutson was, over a personal level, unable to modify Seattle as well as destructive modus operandi in terms of Native Americans, the reader is playing the desire that could be, just maybe, it can realize the mistake of the ways and alter itself.

All in all, “The Third and Final Continent” and “What You Pawn, I Will Redeem” come to thoroughly different results about outsiders entering a community, according to the former, entering a new community can be an emotionally improving experience that will not require abandonment of traditions, but based on the latter, an outsider whom comes into contact with a new community will forcibly try hard to conform, generally ending up lost, and always shedding his/her heritage and dignity. Throughout the two stories, differences that show these findings are made evident. While the narrator in “The Third and Final Continent” successfully gives reminders of his first home where ever he should go, the story of Jackson’s your life in “What You Pawn, I Will Redeem” is certainly one of an intense going downhill after captivation in a new community. As the narrator in “The Third and Last Continent” goes through emotional and mental progress in his “third continent, inch coming to appreciate someone for the first time and finding out how to love his wife, Jackson’s interactions with his new community are adversely marked by a dignity-draining circuit of dependence on others and addiction to liquor, mirroring the sad fate of many Tribes of native americans.

However the two reports agree the only real effect an individual can have on a huge community comes about through person relationships, that they draw a unique conclusion depending on this premise. “The Third and Last Continent” holds that these personal relationships are more than enough, allowing anybody to have a beneficial and excellent effect on a residential area as he chooses. On the other hand, “What You Pawn, Let me Redeem” paints the picture that, though qualified individual relationships are possible, they can do nothing to change the overall negative effect that a community has on an outsider. Overall, these two diametrically-opposed conclusions that Lahiri and Alexie possess produced signify two diverse outcomes for 2 different persons. In conclusion, whenever we enter any kind of society since outsiders, it can be for the best for taking both of the theories in each of our hands.

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