Thursday, 3 June 2010

tragedy of the immigrants

From Brick Lane by Monica Ali:

‘This is the tragedy of our lives. To be an immigrant is to live out a tragedy.’
‘What are you talking about?’
‘The clash of cultures.’
‘I beg your pardon?’
‘And of generations,’ added Chanu.
‘What is the tragedy?’
Mrs Azad, the doctor’s wife, is puzzled and annoyed by Chanu’s incessant talk of a tragedy.
‘Of course, the doctor is very refined. Sometimes he forgets that without my family’s help he would not have all those letters after his name.’
‘It’s a success story,’ said Chanu, exercising his shoulders. ‘But behind every story of immigration success there lies a deeper tragedy.’
‘Kindly explain this tragedy.’
‘I’m talking about the clash between Western values and our own. I’m talking about the struggle to assimilate and the need to preserve one's identity and heritage. I’m talking about children who don’t know what their identity is. I’m talking about the feelings of alienation engendered by a society where racism is prevalent. I’m talking about the terrific struggle to preserve one's own sanity while striving to achieve the best for one’s family. I’m talking—’

‘The society is racist. The society is all wrong. Everything should change for them. They don’t have to change one thing. That,’ she said, stabbing the air, ‘is the tragedy.’

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