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The American Dreamer By Bharati Mukherjee Analysis Essay

The American Dream is the assumption that every single US citizen should have the same opportunity to be successful, work hard, and have determination. Bharati Mukherjee illustrates how Jasmine takes on new names and identities to transform herself as she travels through America to achieve what she believes is “ The American Dream”. The major idea of being this American Dreamer” is to search for your real identity(“The Great”). Being born in India and coming to America she is an immigrant. Jasmine has gone through a lot as a child and as a young adult. For instance, violence and men.

Through her eyes America is seen as an opportunity to start over; to hope for a better life. The narrator then leaves her country to fulfill her wishes and to fight all odds. On reaching the U. S, she begins on self-independence. However, she understands that she has to adapt to the ” American Lifestyle” to survive. Along her journey, Jasmine describes what it means to suffer and to struggle. The main protagonist in this novel is Jasmine herself. Named by her grandmother, she was born as Jyoti(meaning light) in a small village of Hasnapur in Jalandhar district of Punjab, India.

Jyoti ived with her mom, dad, and siblings. Being the fifth daughter and the seventh of nine children; Jyoti was unwanted to the family. When she was just born her mother tried to kill her. Like herself, Jyoti’s mom didn’t want her daughter to go through the sorrow and the stress of a marriage ( “Novels For”). But, Jyoti survived the fight. Since that incident, she renamed herself, “I survived the snipping. My grandmother may have named me Jyoti; light but in surviving I was already Jane, a fighter and a adapter (Mukherjee 40).

The violence that she goes through is not only physical but also mental. When Jane grows into her teenage years, her father dies. As he is getting off a bus; a bull rapidly runs into and over him.. killing him instantly. As time goes on, her poor mother shaves her head as a sign that she has given up her own life. Although experiencing this at a young age, the death of her father and the disappointment of her mother, Jane stays strong and takes over the role of the mother in her household. She is no longer only a daughter, but she has to now take full responsibility for the rest of the family.

The child she once was is reborn as a young woman(“An Interview”). Jane ever gave up on her childhood memories. In fact, her childhood memories became her secret weapon on her fight against finding her true identity. Jane is told by an astrologer that she will be a widow when she turns seventeen years old. She doesn’t believe it, but the man hits her and she falls on the ground, bits her tongue, and she gets a huge scar on her forehead. The pain she feels and the scar will forever remind her of that moment in her life when she tried to “runaway” from her fate.

One day as Janie is peacefully in the river swimming, she suddenly sees a rotten dog’s body. The stench she smells from he dog and the images from that moment will haunt her for the rest of her life. ” I know what I don’t want to become”, said Jane (Mukherjee 5). In search for her true self, she was taken in numerous directions until she could view the future. Moreover, she was prepared to be successful. failing was not an option. Through these occasions, Jane presented that she was the complete opposite from the other village girls.

The cousin , a large dogmatic woman, said that big-city men prefer us village girls because we are brought to be caring and have no minds of our own; Village girls are like cattle; whichever way you take hem , that is the way they’ll go ,”(Mukherjee. 46). Men are known to easily take control over women because women are mostly dependent on males. Her own father tries to write her life decisions. He once said that, “bright ladies are[like] bright sons, that is nature’s design (Mukherjee 51)”. In other words, being with a successful male will make you successful and it’s a certain “rule” you have to follow.

However, Jane wasn’t going to let a boy, men, nor her dad dictate her life. She once offended her father by disobeying his wishes for her. “I want to be a doctor and set up my own clinic in big town. Like the moustached doctor in a bazaar clinic, I wanted to scrape off cataracts, fit plastic legs on stumps, work miracles (Mukherjee 51). ” Her father was very furious with her. Moreover, the frustration of her father didn’t bother her. She was happy that she stood up for her ambition. The “American Dream” is known to having this ” Perfect Marriage and Husband” lifestyle.

Jane completes a tiny part of her dream by marrying a young engineer named Prakash. Prakash was a very positive male figure in Jane’s life. Unlike others who tried to write her life plans out for her, he wanted to contribute. He wanted her to throw away her past and create this new image of a city woman. Therefore, he gave her a new name. She was no longer Jane… now she was ” Jasmine”. “Jasmine”, was a new chapter in her life. Her husband’s motivation to do better with himself inspired Jasmin to better herself.

She realized that if her husband could courage himself then she could in courage herself to the right path. My husband was obsessed with passing exams, doing better, making something more of his life than fate intended (Mukherjee 5). ” Throughout their marriage they lived happily. It was the typical ” happy wife happy life”“. Unfortunately, this came to an end after Jasmine’s husband got murdered by the Fundamentalists. Afterwards, Jasmine became depressed and frustrated with her life all over again. As time went on , she knew that she couldn’t live miserable all her life. So, she finally chases after her dream and moves to The United States of America(“An Interview”).

While Jasmin is finally in America living her dream, it is cut short. The ship she was shipped into America in was ran by a guy who had lost an eye, an ear, and most of his cheek during a war in Vietnam. His name was Half Face, also known as The Caption of the ship. Shortly after they arrived, Jasmine was raped by Half Face in a hotel room. NOw overwhelmed and disgusted, she wanted to kill herself. However, she does not, instead she kills him instead. “. I could not let my personal dishonor disrupt my mission (Mukherjee 117). In other words, she knew that she couldn’t let this tragedy get the best of her.

Therefore, to symbol her way of killing “herself”, she burns her clothes . It represented the death of the old her and the birth of the new her. “My body was [the] shell, soon to be [opened]. Then I could be reborn, debts, and sins all paid for (Mukherjee 120-121). As Jasmine settles into America she meets Lilian Gordon. Lilian Gordon taught Jasmine how to live like an American: the clothes, the walk, the attitude and most importantly the education. Ms. Gordon calls Jasmine Jazzy. Jazzy begins to love this nickname because it was really American and she wanted to fit the American style.

Plus, it was different then the nicknames they received back in India. Lilian Gordon was not only a good friend but also a good encourager. ” Let the past make you wary, by all means. But do not let it [change] you (Mukherjee 131). ” Jazzy understood that she could earn from her past but to make sure that she doesn’t allow her past to affect her present; but to only make her stronger and able to survive. Gordon gave Jazzy a sense of hope in her life. Her advice helped physically and also mentally. In addition to her life, Jazzy worked in Mr. and Mrs. Haynes house.

There, her name went from Jazzy to Jase. Jase was a woman who was independent. She bought herself spangled heels, and silk chartreuse pants. Jase was also known for going to the movies, she lived for the moment. This name reminded her of a happy, intelligent person. Finally, Jase was in a point in her life where he grew a positive personality that she was very confident in. She was not Jasmine anymore; a young woman who’s an outcast, she was Jase, a young woman who blossoms like a butterfly living for the present. Jase saw India as a normal country. On the other hand, she saw America differently.

She compared it as being an alien country. Although India and America are very different, it didn’t bother Jase. She saw “different” as good because it gave her a challenge. Also, it’s an opportunity because the two countries are isolated from each other and most immigrants are forced to stay. But, Jase got the hance to experience the American culture. “New Pioneers” is another name for calling immigrants that come to America. There goal to coming to America is to get a second chance of life, or in other words change themselves and their surroundings(Wachtel, Eleanor).

The assimilation of Third World immigrants into the American melting pot, which is itself enriched by those she describes as “new pioneers. ” Jase is one of those pioneers, a survivor with courage, wryness and a hopeful streak at odds with her fatalism (Wachtel, Eleanor). While Jase is touring the United States, she has learned how to ive day to day with ease and comfort. Unlike before, she also gave people a chance to support her in her journey. Besides her support from her new friends, Taylor, her husband, was her number one fan. He helped Jase get back on her right path.

Not only did he give her emotional support he committed his heart to her. Jase never had anyone feel the way Taylor did about her and she never got the chance to love someone. She became overwhelmed because someone loved her for her despite her immigrant status. As time passes by , Jase ends up leaving her husband Taylor. Not because she didn’t love him anymore but ecause she spotted Sukhwinder. He was a Khalsa terrorist that killed her ex-husband Parkash.

In fear, she left and headed to lowa where she met a new mother figure named Mrs. Karin Ripplemayer and a new father figure named Mr. Bud Ripplemayer. While she was there she got a job as a banker and lived in a home where she felt safe and wanted. As she was there, she discovered a new identity. Mr and Mrs. Ripplemayer gave her the name Jane. Later, violence came back to Jane. A strange farmer from a distance shot Mr. Bud and left him disabled from his waist down to his toes. Pursuing to be a eader, Jane became a caregiver towards Bud and made him feel confident about himself.

Down the line, Jane gets pregnant by Mr. Ripplemayer but does not marry him; this was to fulfill his happiness. Loving the “American Family”, she was still in the search for true love. One day her ex-husband Taylor writes her a letter stating that he is coming back for her. Out of all her husband’s Taylor was one that really meant something to her. Therefore, she was okay with his message. However, she didn’t know how to break the news to Bud. When Taylor arrives he convinces Jane that it was okay to leave him behind and so she did. This shows hows love can be very strong and how it co control people.

Next, Jane has realized that she has been serving her fellow friends and that it was time to focus back on herself. ” The moment [l’ve] dreamed a thousand times finally arrives… I want to do the right thing I don’t want to [become] a terrible person... I am not choosing between two men. I am caught between the promise of American and old-world dutifulness(Mukherjee 237-240). ” This was clear that Jane was had a plethora of courage. In comparison to most Americans, she did what she felt was best for her; feeling no guilt nor being called Jane.

Succeeding the worst events through her journey in America, she now was able to focus on her place in Taylor’s life. Looking back, Jasmine was relieved that she left Bud. It was something that was bound to happen, that was meant to happen for a reason. ” It isn’t guilt that i feel it’s relief. I [accepted] that I have already stopped thinking of myself as Jane. Adventure, risk, transformation: the frontier is pushing indoors through uncaulked window. Watch me reposition the stars, I whisper to the astrologer who floats cross-legged above my kitchen stove..

I am… greedy with wants, and reckless from hope(Mukherjee 240-241). ” This last quote symbols how Jasmine has finally found and gained what she was looking for; which was herself. Mukherjee’s novel is filled with exploration. Jasmine is a woman that is capable of transforming into many selves, and[hunting] new names that signifies another identity. She is raped, she murders, she marries, and she adopts children. Certainly, Jasmine’s represents the larger self of every human in their “immigration” (throughout their] life(MortonMollo, Sherry).

Jasmine is a winner, she does not allow her troubles and struggles to overcome her potential in life and she is finding a place for herself in the society. In other words, she is a true feminist who fights every challenge in life to establish herself in the society. Although Jasmine was a domestic worker without a visa, papers or a birth certificate.. she was still happy, “a girl rushing wildly into the future. (Wachtel, Eleanor)”. Finally, Jasmine realises that the true identity of a person does not lie in being an Indian or an American but it lies in the inner spirit of the person to be at peace with herself.

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