“Outsiders” in a Multicultural Society
The United States is generally recognized for the multitude of cultural values present in the country as a result of the wide range of ideas that have been introduced here across the years. While the majority of individuals in the country have often discriminated against people that they considered “outsiders,” many in the country’s history have managed to emphasize the fact that they too are an active part of its culture and that they are able to contribute to making society as a whole acknowledge its complex nature. Langston Hughes and Jhumpa Lahiri are two of the most for making the American community accept its multicultural character and for influencing Americans to adopt less discriminatory attitudes concerning non-white individuals. Hughes got actively involved in changing the way that the masses and African-Americans in particular saw discriminated groups in the U.S. Lahiri wants people to see matters from the perspective from someone who can be considered a victim of globalization as she focuses on making people understand the suffering associated with being unable to find a cultural identity.
Hughes’ poem “Song for a Dark Girl” provides readers with a grim image of an her lover. When considering the circumstances in the poem, it appears that he was wrongfully accused and murdered by individuals who did not actually understand the nature of their act. By constantly relating to the location where the poem takes place, “Way Down South in Dixie” (Hughes 223). Mr. Hughes probably wants readers to comprehend that this place is prone to experiencing such episodes of lynching blacks. When considering that conditions in the American South was a critical time during the early decades of the twentieth century. The Harlem Renaissance in particular, it is only safe to assume that Hughes simply wanted to highlight the wrongness present in a presumably civilized society.
What is intriguing about Hughes is that he appears to write for a different public than for the racist individuals that he condemns. He apparently considers that it would be wrong for him to criticize the American community as a whole for the fact that some of its members are unable to understand that discrimination is wrong. Through relating to conditions in the South, Hughes actually wants to criticize people for their failure to intervene and stop discrimination from happening. His main audience was composed of the individuals who actually belonged to his group (221). The community that saw the Harlem Renaissance experiences a rapid rise and that played an essential role in shaping the country’s personality was the one that needed to understand the feelings that Hughes wanted to put across through his works.
The simplicity present in Hughes’ poem is not necessarily a result of the fact that he was not familiarized with more complex literary concepts. It is actually owed to his interest in having people observe the harsh reality related to discrimination. The fact that 1920s people expressed a cultural desire for primitivism made it possible for the poet to have them appreciate his work and the hidden message behind it.
Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Third and Final Continent” is an attempt that the writer makes with the purpose of having readers understand things from the perspective of an individual who has trouble identifying his personal identity as a consequence of being bombarded with foreign cultural values. In spite of the fact that the protagonist in the story lived in England and in the United States for most of his life, his parents want him to acknowledge his Indian background. However, he feels that it would be essential for him to do so, he discovers that he does not identify with India as being his home and that it would be impossible for him to associate his character with a single culture. “Her stories play back and forth between India and the United States, affirming both the connection and the estrangement felt by many Indians, the “sense of emotional exile” she has found “in my parents and in their friends that I feel can never go away” (416).
Lahiri herself can be considered an “outsider,” a person who does not feel that she belongs in a particular culture precisely because society wants her to do so. Through emphasizing that the protagonist cannot identify with a single cultural background she wants readers to understand that the multicultural world in the present is no longer a place where people relate to a single culture, especially if they borrow elements from a multitude of cultures throughout their lives. In spite of the fact that the protagonist in her story was accustomed to change, there were times when he was “bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept” (430).
All that an individual can do in such circumstances is to try and devise a strategy assisting him or her in coping with the pressures of a multicultural society and to adopt a the concept of cultural diversity as a whole.
Instead of being influenced in accepting that she is an Indian as a consequence of visiting her homeland and observing Indian values, the central character develops a feeling of alienation as he realizes that there are little elements in the Indian culture that he can identify with. Through presenting readers with this story, Lahiri wants them to comprehend that the world is a multicultural location where individuals need to acknowledge their complex background and accept that they do not actually need to identify with a single culture in order to .
In conclusion, in spite of the fact that Hughes and Lahiri are considered “outsiders,” they did not hesitate to go through great efforts in order to have the world understand their thinking and their position. We all are given great opportunity to learn from writers that are considered “outsiders.” They illustrate that we all have a little “outsider” in all of us. This country is the land of “opportunity” so we must understand where we all come from to know where we need to go. The United States was a country that was divide but as the name states we are “united.”
Hughes, Langston. “Song for a Dark Girl.” Create ed. McGraw-Hill, 2011. 223. Print.
Lahiri, Jhumpa. “The Third and Final Continent.” Create ed. McGraw-Hill, 2011. 417-430. Print.