<p style="text-align: justify;">In the short story, “Two Ways to Belong in America”, Bharati tells that there are two ways to belong in America. The first one is belonging legally. To belong legally you either have a green card, or you are a citizen. The other way is to fit in with society, and to feel as if you belong. Bharati is an American citizen, and married outside of her culture. She was prepared for this and was ready for the emotional strain. Mira had only a green card, and married an Indian student in 1962. Mira has become nationally recognized for her contributions in the fields of pre-school education and parent teacher relationships. After 36 years as a legal immigrant in this country, she clings passionately to her Indian citizenship and hopes to go home to India when she retires. This shows how both of the sisters have different views on their lifestyles.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">To belong in America is not only to be a legal inhabitant of the U.S., but also to fit in and be able to live a normal and independent life. If a person is living illegally in America, then they don’t belong in here. If no one likes the person and they are repeatedly rejected and turned down, they probably don’t belong here. To belong in America you must be able to keep up with today’s technology, and be able to function under certain situations. Most parts of America are very advanced, and require effort and dignity to survive. A person must be legal, and willing to truly belong here.</p>
How do you belong in ? That was the first thing that popped in my head when I saw Bharati Mukherjee’s essay Two Ways to Belong in America. This essay was about the differences between Bharati and her sister Mira’s views on immigrants. Throughout the essay Mukherjee used rhetorical devices such as: compare/contrast, fluency, and tone. She used these in such a way that it was both interesting and easy to read.
“She, for the lack of structure in my life, the erasure of Indianness, the absence of an unvarying daily core. I, for the narrowness of her perspective, her uninvolvement with mythic depths or the superficial pop culture of this society.” (Page 273) The difference in what Bharati and Mira pity in each other is one of the many ways the girls are compared and contrasted. Bharati made it really easy to understand the uniqueness of each sister. It was also really interesting to see how different two sisters can be that are raised in the same house.
I originally thought that the continual use of the mixing sentences of different lengths choppy and hard to read. However, I found it an enjoyable essay. The sentences were smooth most of the time, but sentences that listed hampered the ability to read the essay fluently. “I’ve obeyed all the rules, I’ve paid my taxes, I love my work, I love my students, I love the friends I’ve made.” (Page 274) Some of the sentences such as that one were a little choppy, but others were smooth which balanced the essay. Such as, “I am moved that thousands of long-term residents are finally taking the oath of citizenship.” (Page 272)
The tone in this essay really stood out. It was really easy to understand the emotions that were going between the two sisters. Mira, you could tell, was upset that immigrants needed to be a citizen. “This is such an unfair way to treat a person who was invited to stay and work here because of her talent.” (Page 274) Bharati embraced the idea of becoming a citizen. “She is happier to live in as expatriate Indian than as an immigrant American. I need to feel like a part of the community I have adopted...” (Page 275)
The rhetorical devices that Baharti used is kept me interested: the comparisons and the contrasting, the tone, and the fluency. After reading through the essay my question was answered and the answer was of course, obvious. In Baharti and Mira’s opinion, the two ways to live in was either as a citizen or as an immigrant.