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Manhattan Music - Book Report/Review Example

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Manhattan Music

n America." (Alexander, 219 and 228)
Rebelling against the traditional arranged marriages, Sandhaya decides to marry Stephen Rosenblum, an American Jew tourist, who is spending his vacation in India. Sandhaya Rosenblum accompanies her husband to New York to live in their apartment in Manhattan.
Becoming a wife and a mother drift her into a routine which makes her wonder about the right meaning of her life in her "chosen exile". Alienated from both her native and adopted countries, she finds a sort of remedy in her friendship with Draupadi Dinkins, an American born of Trinidad parents. Draupadi introduces Sandhaya to her Egyptian x-lover, Rashid el Obeid, " Ah, Sandhaya, Draupadi said allow me to introduce youRashid el Obeid, he said to her, extending his hand. I'm a friend of your cousin Jay. And Draupadi too knows me." (Manhattan Music 59). Sandhaya gets herself involved in a love affair (or rather a sexual one) with Rashid, who rejects her love the way she expects him to love and cherish her. Consequently, being lost in the turbulent feeling of melancholy in her life and the death of her father, she tries to commit suicide in Draupadi's apartment. After her friend, Draupadi, saves her life, Sandhaya tries to give meaning to the reality of the life she has chosen in America, " There was a place for her here, though what it might be she could never have spelled out. And she, who had never trusted words very much, knew she would live out her life in America." (Manhattan Music 228).
4.2 Diaspora, Immigration and Identity
Manhattan Music, Alexander's latest postcolonial novel, exemplifies the Indian diasporic experience from a melancholic character's point of view and what immigration for this class of people might mean. To be able to understand the character(s) in the novel and the struggle they feel inside to integrate in the American society, it is worth giving a short plot summary about the incidents that drift each character to play the role Alexander has chosen for her/him.
Alexander underscores the classic problems of immigrant literature: what to do with the previous identity and how to deal with the new identity that shapes up as a result of migration. Identity in a post-modern way is radically transformed. It includes things that presumably don't fit together. Alexander revises the tradition of immigrant literature by showing a fragmentary concept of identity that is not necessarily pessimistic. A recurrent example of such a fragmentary concept is apparent in her references to the image of Frankenstein in her writings. Immigrant identities have a Frankensteinian quality: composed of bits and pieces, the immigrant selves learn to survive their patchwork identities. This Frankensteinian q ...Show more

Summary

Mukherjee's ideology that is represented through her characters identifies the approach of assimilation. Contrary to Mukherjee's is that of Alexander's which reflects the ideology of resistance of her characters to get assimilated. As we have seen, Mukherjee's Jasmine has an urge to escape to the West and was already in the course of hybridization even prior to her arrival in the USA due to her, and her husband's, attitude of the third World with the fixed notions of their country's backwardness and inferiority…
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