2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

Motherhood in Jhumpa Lahiri's "Unaccustomed Earth"
Kitty C. Rice
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

In her short story, "Unaccustomed Earth," Jhumpa Lahiri illustrates the generational, cultural, and gender role conflicts Ruma, an Indian-American, experiences after immigration to the United States. Lahiri demonstrates the disparity between traditional Indian expectations of a female and the simultaneous pressure of the suburban American lifestyle which affects Ruma both as a woman and mother. Ruma viewed the life of her mother, "as a warning, a path to avoid," but now finds herself in the very role her mother fulfilled while alive. With a largely absent husband, Ruma finds herself compelled to take care of an older father and a young child. Through a postcolonial and feminist perspective, this paper will explore how Ruma's inner conflict as a woman who is both Indian and American, mother and daughter, wife and professional, affect her overall sense of identity and womanhood.

Keywords: Jhumpa Lahiri, "Unaccustomed Earth", motherhood, tradition, India, culture, generation, conflict

Women's and Gender Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 32-4
Location: VH 1232
Time: 10:15

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