Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Comparative Essay: “Abuela Marielita” and“Thanksgiving in a Monsoonless Land”

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Life isn’t easy for many people around the world. Some of them stay their lives in their native countries but some have even harder time in their lives because they left their countries and go to a new country like the United States. Life is harder for them as the immigrants to survive in a new place. “Thanksgiving in a Monsoonless Land” a memoir by Roshni Rustomji and “Abuela Marielita” a short story by Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes are two stories that illustrate two different immigrants survivals in America during 0th century. “Thanksgiving in a Monsoonless Land” took place in a hospital room of South San Francisco and Mexico. “Abuela Marielita” took place in Florida during the 180’s. Both main characters are similar; they both expressed the way they live as immigrants in the United States. A good life in America isn’t easy to be obtained. They completely show the same idea through out the stories. Immigrants to the United States acquire certain advantages in their new country, but they need to sacrifice certain values learned in their native countries.


“Abuela Marielita” and “Thanksgiving in a Mosoonless Land” take place at the same era. Many people try to find ways to come to the United States, but not everyone can really step their roots in here. In “Abuela Marielita”, Soledad left Cuba by boat. She isn’t a legal citizen. That’s the time when people start to find the fast way to come here but that’s also a danger try to come to here. In “Thanksgiving in a Mosoonless Land”, Dinaz Mehta come to the United States with her husband. They come to here when the time many people want to immigrate to some new countries to explore by different reasons. All people want to see the different


Both main characters in the stories, Soledad and Dinaz Mehta are two hopeful women left from their native country and come to the United States. They tried to find the best way for themselves, but that’s really hard for them to choose which is the best between their native culture and American culture. But they strongly believe that they can overcome all the problems they may face in future in this new country. In the story “Thanksgiving in a Monsoonless Land”, Dinaz Mehta moved to the United States from India was partly about her headache. This headache was just a reaction to the pre-monsoon season in Bombay. She lived around there in past and experienced her headache in the past fifty years already. She loves her country, but her headache really hurt her. So she decided to leave there with her husband and went to South San Francisco for better treatment for her headache, or she wants a better life in the United States.


In the Story “Abuela Marielita”, Soledad left La Habana, Cuba, and came to the United States because she had no relatives left in Cuba. She has nowhere to go without this new country she had considering before. Therefore, she decided to go to Miami to find her own daughter, Grutudes’s family and live with them. Also she wants to take care of her as better than became an exile from Mariel. Although she knew that could be a hard time for her, she still make up her mind to go to the United State


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In both “Abuela Marielita” and “Thanksgivings in a Monsoonless Land”, the conflict is human versus self. Both main characters can’t fully adapt to the American lifestyle. In “Thanksgivings in a Monsoonless Land”, Dinaz Mehta had multicultural from her ancestors. Her daughter knew how to eat white rice with soy sauce with chopsticks from her Chinese great-great-grandmother custom. She knew the belief of Spanish from her grandfather, especially on the aspect of Parsis. And she is living under an Indian family culture in America. Dinaz thought she was an American and also an Indian. She never denies or admits neither sides of identity. She loved both civilized societies.


In “Abuela Marielita”, Gertrudes never want people knew Soledad comes from the port of Mariel. But Soledad didn’t deny her identity as a Spanish from Mariel. When she moved to United States, she learned how her American grandchildren grew under the American society. She learned the way the Americans acted! “ The Lopezes has banana and papaya plants that remind me of my own patio in Cuba.” (Milanes, 5) She suddenly remembers her patio in her country, although she isn’t in there anymore. But she still exciting to learn some new culture in America, but not sometime. “ I hang the clothes because I really don’t like to use the clothes dryer. It’s so much better to sun the things and let them blow in the breeze; they smell so much nicer too (Rustomji, ).” She still likes to follow the same way for the clothes in her old-fashioned life style. She loves her country, too.


Dinaz Mehta and Soledad are trying to obtain American culture; they believe that’s the only way to survive in America. But at the same time, they loosed partly custom from their native country since the day they came to the United States.


What, Dinaz Mehta! What is this? A turkey! Have you forgotten to cook Parsi food? I came here for pukka, real Parsi food. And what I do see? A turkey! What do you think you are? An American!” I wondered if I should say, “But she has also made Parsi stew and Parsi shrimps.” I said, “But it is Thanksgiving.” Mother shut the oven door, uncrouched herself, and said, “You are damned right I am an American.(Rustomji, )


Philip Johnson, Dinaz’s friend, was kind of blame Dinaz did a wrong thing. He thought she shouldn’t cook Turkey in Thanksgiving instead of Parsi food. Although she came to America a while, she believed herself as an American. But in Philip’s mind, the way she did show she changed her culture and forgot her native culture completely. But the true isn’t.


In “Abuela Marielita”, Soledad lost what she expected to have in her own country.


‘She’s gotten such a mouth since starting school at San Bernardo’s. I asked las muchachitas if they wanted any more soda, in Spanish of course, but Gracielita answered me in English with that face she puts on whenever she’s acting up, and they all laughed. All I could understand her saying was something about me being a Marielita, but I’m sure it was worst than that. I would have slapped her right then and there, but my daughter doesn’t believe in that, so I called her a fresh and shameless girl, and they kept right on laughing. Such disrespect!’(Milanes, 8)


Her grandchildren showed disrespect to her as an elder or senior, they should hold her in great regard. They couldn’t treat her like a Marie. Soledad believed the children from Cuba wouldn’t act like the same as her grandchildren.


Fortunately, they attempt to accept their new environment in America, which should be difficult for them. They also love their native culture too! “I am an American. I breathe here. I speak here. I sing here. I laugh and cry here. I have left parts of my body all over this place. Nail clipping and hair trimmings across the country.” (Rustomji, 0) She had live here for over eighteen years. She sure here is her house now. Although the environment changed, she still uses to adopt the new place and mostly became an American. “Remember to track down our old landlady Mrs. Mary Crawford, and get back our Chinese silk sari, the Parsi gaaro, from her.” (Milanes, 5-6) When she was almost die, she asked Kamal to promise her to get back the stuff represent their culture. She really loves her culture and she wants those stuff passes through their generation. Soledad hardly adopting the environment gave her in United States. “You young people never ask the old ones anything, because you know it all already.” (Milanes, 100) She always keeps her mind in sense as the way she used to be in Cuba. Young people must respect everything from the elder but they pretend they knew everything already. That was impolite. She knew the people growing up in United State were all different from the people from her countries. She wondered the time she had in Cuba but she knew she needed to stay here because her family was here now. She was kind of forced to adopt the environment that the society gave her.


There are many things could obtain and also something could lose during the life in America with their native cutlure. Something was losing and ran from your hand as u gaining something new to another hand. Immigrants came to America must consider about the different positive and negative sides of facts, that’s how the world run with those complicate groups of people. Nothing could be perfect but immigrants could do their best of it. And that was the process of gaining and losing in life. I strongly believe that should be a great memory for those immigrants because there are lot of unforgettable experiences they never have. Therefore the stories “Thanksgiving in a Monsoonless Land” by Roshni Rustomji and “Abuela Marielita” by Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes were totally describe what immigrants acquire in new country and what they sacrifice from their native countries.








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