Cultural Identity Shifts in Female Characters of Jhumpa Lahiri
Keywords:identity, culture, gender loss, changes, women suffering.
The idea of identity can be related to the modern study of culture, which has implications for the study of several topics like ethnicity. When something that is taken for granted to be consistent is altered, identity becomes a problem. Desire, such as the desire for safety, association, and acknowledgment over time and distance, can also be linked to identity. Cultural identity, according to Stuart Hall, is a function of “becoming” as much as “being.” It belongs just as much to the past as it does to the future. It is not something that has always been there and spans space, time, history, and cultures. Cultural diversity gives people a past and a place to start from. But they change all the time, just like everything in heritage. They are sensitive of the ongoing “play” of history, culture, and power rather than being firmly fixed in a fundamentally zed past. We use the word “identity” to describe way different narratives position us and how we position ourselves within them. It is not anchored in a simple “recovery” of the past that is expecting discovery and, when found, will ensure our sense of self into eternity. On other hand, because they are created by representations, identities are recognized within the
context of cultural circumstances and lack universal characteristics. In her article Comparative Literature and Cultural Identification, Jola Skulj writes that “Cultural identity incorporates the question of the self and of culture” or reflecting the essence of culture, where the self represents an independent subjectivity of every human being. Thus, identity determines a person, and it is in this area that women suffer more than males because they are responsible for upholding traditions. Jhumpa Lahiri, a supporter of women and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000 and 2013 Man Booker Prize nominee, depicts women’s issues and struggles creatively and particularly in foreign settings. Characters in her books struggle with identity, interpersonal connections, feelings of alienation, longing, loss, and hope more frequently. A reader gains a true understanding of the status, conduct, and personalities of Indian women who have settled both in India and abroad through Jhumpa Lahiri. The gender roles of the characters in “The Namesake”, “Interpreter of Maladies” and “The Lowland” have changed, according to a critical interpretation of Lahiri’s writings. The writer thinks that these phenomena indicate shifting status of men and women in society as they shift from conventional types to modern ones. One tactic for unnoticeably limiting women’s space is pre-programming. They are already pre-programmed on customs and traditions, thus they are not aware of the loss of their own areas.