How can a clash of cultures provoke the breakdown of a relationship? - Sample Essay
This shows the lack of understanding of the society’s language shown by Cathy. There is also evidence of class system. This appears to be the case when “Naraian pointed mistakes out to the sweeper-woman occasionally (rather too rudely and loudly) but the sweeper-woman never seemed to mind, on the contrary, she showed her pointed teeth wider, whiter than ever”. This shows that she is used to being ill treated and she knows her position in society. She relies on working for rich people for her income.
Therefore, she does not show her frustration at being corrected so brashly. It appears to be an integrated society at a glance as “everywhere they met friends” and it is so easy “to merge with a crowd of modestly veiled women, sick cows, pickpockets and obtrusive hawkers”. An example of how society could contribute to the vast contrast of atmosphere and slowly place affect into contributing to provoke the breakdown of the couple. In “The Young Couple” the relationship gradually changes, as the family becomes more involved in Naraian and Cathy’s relationship.
Cathy feels smothered by their involvement. Cathy becomes pregnant, at which point the family invades the couple’s home and control how and where they eat, illustrated by a chef being provided with strict orders to only take instructions from her mother-in-law. The story ends as Cathy and Naraian are about to move into the family’s house. Cathy has become powerless, she tries to hold on to their little flat because it’s the only thing that she feels still belongs to her and has not been overtaken by anyone.
Cathy becoming pregnant is the catalyst for change in this story, because as this happens, the family becomes even more involved in their relationship as it almost seems to give them permission to invade the couple’s relationship even more. The young couple in the story represent modernity and the husbands family traditionalism. The couples initially fight against the traditional way of Indian life but are soon overwhelmed by it. There is a role of women in the Indian society Cathy is viewed, as Narian’s possession her opinions are ignored not sort after. Narain’s parents are keen for him to become involved in the family business.
Initially this causes arguments between the two sides, their home is seen as oppressive and suffocating showing how they are slowly taking over the lives of the young couple. It is not only what was said or hinted which disturbed Cathy and made her wish they could spend their Sundays in some other way: there was also the a certain heaviness about the house that weighed on her and made her feel oppressed. By the end of the story the parents win the battle. Tradition overcomes modernity. The son accepts a job within the family business and the couple, who are by now expecting a child, are poised to move into the family home.
Their dreams of independence are slowly corroded by the traditional Indian way of life. In “Two Kinds”, the mother has high hopes; she believes a person can be anything they want in America and she wants a daughter who excels in some area. All of the mother’s hopes lay on the daughter. Her hopes are bolstered by stories about remarkable children with incredible talents. If they can succeed at such a young age, surely her child can as well. The mother wants her daughter to be the best she can be, but she has unrealistic expectations. June’s mother believes in the American Dream.
With hard work, she feels that June can be anything she wants to be in this great country. After all, her daughter will never suffer the kind of deprivation and tragedies that she had to endure in China. , however, takes America for granted. A product of American culture, she is independent and resistant to Chinese heritage and traditions. She has no desire to prove herself or excel in any field. She wants to take life as it comes. In her words, “I did not believe I could be anything I wanted to be. I could only be me. ” Although the mother allows her daughter to choose her vocation, June is not really interested in any field.
She studies, but without dedication. Her resistance is the result of a clash of cultures. Americanized June never feels like she can live up to her mother’s expectations. Obedience is the method in which these expectations are supposed to meet. In “Two Kinds”, the mother states, “Only one kind of daughter can live in this house only obedient daughter! ” The daughter does not want to live up to outside expectations but she does not want to disappoint her mother; part of her feels obligated to be loyal. After knowing her mother had lost her twin daughters she said the meanest thing she could.
June shouted, “I wish I were dead! Like them”. Her words displayed every ounce of strength and anger she had. The dialogue exchanged between her and her mother sound very realistic, so trust has been established with the reader and the narrator. June’s mother has jumbled up English words with some Chinese words. This alternation of mostly choppy English and her cultural dialect makes her mother sound like an authentic Chinese mother. She called her daughter ni kan and commented that Auntie Lindo’s daughter, she is only best tricky. June words are also not too simple, but not complicated either.
You can sympathize with her situation and the choosing of her passionate words. She sobbed and said during an argument, I’ll never be the kind of daughter you want me to be! This exhibited how strongly she felt about expressing herself. Her mother is a traditional Chinese woman and wants her daughter to be a traditional Chinese girl, she will not accept anything less then that In “The Young Couple”, moving to India has put a large dent in their relationship, the traditional Indian way of life have corroded the young couple’s hopes to be free and independent, therefore the future is uncertain.
The same goes for “Two Kinds”. June’s mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America. The two tones depicted all through the story can be tied to June’s ending thought. The piano piece she had struggled to play at the talent show was entitled Pleading Child and was a very slow and difficult song. She saw that on the next page was a song called Perfectly Contented which was quick and happy. These were two halves of the same song. This can be compared to her life.
During her childhood and part of her adulthood she had felt dissatisfied with her life and with the choices she had made. After she was offered the piano and even after her mother died she had found inner peace. She had reconciled the issues of her failures and knew that her mother never considered them failures. The two songs demonstrated how she had experienced two parts of her life. It’s too late to repair the damage, as culture has overtaken in the “The Young Couple” and “Two Kinds”