Experience of Immigrating

Texts: “My Two Lives” by Jhumpa Lahiri & “Kim’s Convenience” (Season 1, Episode 4-available on Netflix) when Janet (the daughter of Korean immigrants who grows up in Canada) meets her cousin from Korea. OVERVIEW: In “My Two Lives” Jhumpa Lahiri writes about her experience of immigrating to the US from India with her family and how her life in the US becomes a bigger part of her identity than her Indian self. However, her parents maintain their Indian culture and identity. Her essay discusses the struggle she has to identify herself in these two cultures. In “Kim’s Convenience” (Season 1, Episode 4), Janet, born into a family of Korean immigrants grows up in Canada (in the West). In this episode, she has difficulty defining her Korean identity when her cousin, who was born & raised in Korea, comes to visit. Janet feels more Canadian (Western) than Korean—she doesn’t speak Korean or follow any particular Korean traditions. At the same time, she identifies herself as Korean. In this episode, she is confronted by how little of her Korean identity she actually has. INSTRUCTIONS: Write a short essay (2 pages) on the theme of cultural assimilation, cultural identity, or difficulties of identity in general. Begin your essay by writing an introduction that focuses and does mention the Lahiri story or the TV episode (this will be mentioned in the body). Your introduction is the place where you design the focus of your essay—what are you saying about this topic. Create a thesis or main idea and outline at least three (3) main points to explore in your analysis of the stories. Continue your essay by comparing and contrasting the difficulties of the two main characters in the stories. Begin with a summary and then explore the differences/similarities between the two experiences of the characters. Conclusion: What conclusion do the characters come to about their experience? What conclusion do you come to, outside of the stories, regarding this theme?

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