Monday, November 2, 2015

Two cultures but one "home"

In Rushdie’s East, West two different kinds of home. One home in the East and another in the West. For the first time home is described in a sort of multilayered kind of lens. Instead of the perspective of one home conforming to another, we get this kind of mixed home where multiple cultures collide to simultaneously create this new mixed culture of individuals. The way in which Rushdie does this is fascinating. He has one section of the novel dedicated to the East, another to the West, and then finally the third which is a combination of both. This distinction between cultures makes it seem as if they are separate, but having the third section embody characteristics from both the East and West simplifying his distinction.
In reality, the mesh of different cultural values equal a mixing bowl of cultures where both characteristics are brought together is the actual home which Rushdie wants to portray to his readers. Instead of thinking of the East and West as opposing cultures where one is a threat to the other, instead think of it as one unifying culture where they complement each other. Although the tradition is rich within the East (particularly in the Prophets Hair short story), the West section to offers some interesting tradition mainly pop culture references which somehow is influenced in both ways by the East. The references made to pop culture is also an important part of cultures merging. Since the media is a big factor in society, it plays a necessary role within Rushdie’s short stories. For some stories the government control and media influence is seen as a negative, like in The Free Radio.
 By Rushdie seeing two different “homes” as one is a beautiful attempt at seeing a need to unify but at the same time establish some difference between the two unique cultures. There are both positives and negatives to assimilation. The positives include the cultures ability to of open up and gain a new and improved understanding of the world. The negatives of assimilation include losing a sense of heritage and tradition because of the influence from the other culture. Of course there are many more negatives that one seems to be the biggest, because tradition for some cultures, is everything. However, finding a gap between the negatives and positives is what makes both cultures thrive. Which is why Rushdie chose to have a section dedicated to combining both cultures (East, West).

Simultaneously having the East and West cultures in one section makes the unification of both seem less difficult to understand. Compared to other readings for the first time it isn’t about one or the other but of both influencing each other. This distinction made it possible to see not only two cultures but one new culture where both traditions and ideals from opposing cultures can thrive. 

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