996 Slices
Medium 9789351380504

Ch_2_F

A.J. Sebastian SDB Laxmi Publications PDF

2

Jhumpa Lahiri Interpreting

Maladies in Interpreter of Maladies,

The Namesake and Unaccustomed Earth

2.1  Introduction

Jhumpa Lahiri (1967 - ) as a diaspora writer, deals with a multicultural society both from

‘inside’ and ‘outside’, seeking to find her native identity as well as the new identity in the adopted country. This brings in a clash of cultures and dislocation and displacement

(Kadam 121-22). It is this predicament of people in diaspora that the fictionist attempts to analyse through her oeuvre of fiction writing consisting of Interpreter of Maladies

(1999), The Namesake (2003) and Unaccustomed Earth (2008). She also dwells on

‘acculturation’ and ‘contra-acculturation’ which the second generation Indian-Americans experience (Majumdar 24). They are able to get accultured in the new country, embracing its socio-cultural values, at the same time experience a sense of nostalgia for the Indian culture and sensibilities, experiencing alienation and uprootedness. Such a feeling of in-betweeness experienced, the fictionist portrays through her characters. On her sense of exile Lahiri recounts: “I have somehow inherited a sense of exile from my parents, even though in many ways I am so much more American than they are… I think that for immigrants, the challenges of exile, the loneliness, the constant sense of alienation, the knowledge of and longing for a lost world, are more explicit and distressing than for their children.... But it bothered me growing up, the feeling that there was no single place to which I fully belonged” (Houghton).

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253016881

Ken of Ottumwa

Michael Martone Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

Ken of Ottumwa

Every fall, I visit all the schools in Winesburg to make the pictures. I make the class pictures. I make the individual pictures of each individual student. I make the pictures of the teachers. And even the staff (the janitors, the lunch ladies, the secretaries, the crossing guards, the school nurses), I make their pictures too. I take my camera to the Emile Durkheim High School (the public school), St. Edward the Confessor Roman Catholic School, Martin Luther Lutheran School. Every year, I make all the pictures in all these schools. I make the pictures for the Richard Corey technical school and the Edward Everett Hale, and the Sullivans junior high schools. And I make pictures for the elementary schools (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy). Every fall, I make a lot of pictures. And each sitting gets four takes (at least). Everyone gets four tries to make the picture I make come out right.

My wife, Clare, works with me in all the schools on the day we make the pictures. She brings with her the big tackle box of makeup, the jars of hair gel and cans of hair spray, the bobby pins and barrettes, and plenty of mirrors. We don’t tell the subjects but the mirrors are trick ones, just a little bit, to flatter their faces, make them thinner, smoother, younger, older. My wife hands out the free hard-rubber pocket combs imprinted with “Ken of Ottumwa Studio” on one side of the handle and “Ace” on the other. She watches the students in the hallway outside the door to the backstage of the cafetorium where I have set up my temporary studio. All of the children combing and combing their hair, licking their fingers to smooth down cowlick after cowlick. I can hear my wife calm them down. You are lovely, she says. You have a beautiful smile. She says, this is your best side. I believe that school photograph day creates more anxiety than any test. It is, after all, a measure of who they have become, all the making up of the lives they are making up captured here at this moment. I hear her coax and cajole as I set up the scoop lights and strobes, charge the batteries, adjust the backdrop (it is silver white for all the school pictures though back at the studio I have a variety of backgrounds—the Grand Canyon, the heavy red velvet drapery, the bookshelf filled with books, the end zone of the old RCA Dome), organize the rolls of film (I still use film) with the charts filled with the names of the students waiting outside. Heaven forbid that Ken of Ottumwa would mix up the photographs, caption one picture with the wrong name. No, the kids as they arrange their hair, as they button and unbutton their blouses and shirts, as they remove their glasses, as they smile hard at each other examining each other’s teeth—they carry with them a slip of paper with their name and address and a serial number for me to match with the four frames (at least!) that will be allotted to them. The money is in the packages I sell to them—all the different combinations of 8×10s, 5×7s, 31/2×5s, the wallet sizes, the size for grandparents who will frame the portraits, the postage stamp size for trading with friends. None of the packages make any sense. Everyone always ends up with too many of at least one kind. They get proofs. The four (at least) poses where they try, try, try, try to picture the you that is you (my motto). There is always one half-lidded take or one with the eyes closed altogether, one all apout when she wanted to smile, one all teeth when he wanted to be tight-lipped. Don’t get me started on cheese, on the banter I must recite day in and day out, the counting up to the moment I trip the shutter, the stutter as the lights flashing hit the subject. How I must prop him up again as he blinks uncontrollably. How I nicker at her as her irises gyrate and jump. The confusions of my lefts and your rights, the jumbling of movable body parts (the eyes looking up, the chin down, the head turned, the shoulder pulled back). And the smile, smile, smile, smile. The look here, look here, look here, look here. My wife Clare also helps the seniors with the break front formal gowns, the fake strand of pearls, the tuxedo bib, and clip-on bow. The costumes are soaked through by the end of that day’s shooting, and we spray it down with the same stuff they use for shoes at the bowling alley. Recently, the anxiety in line has gotten even more compounded and confused as most of the students (even the kindergarteners) carry surreptitious cell phones bundled with their own digital cameras. They are not supposed to have them in school but in the hallway milling, waiting, nervous, bored, their teachers distracted by their own vanities, they turn on their phones, flipping them up like old-fashioned compact mirrors accompanied by little songs that twinkle like old music boxes. They make each other’s pictures. They make pictures of each other. They make pictures of each other making pictures. They make pictures of each other making pictures of each other. And then (I know it) they begin sending the pictures they have made to each other. I can hear the phones ringing, singing, buzzing, clicking as they receive the pictures. I can feel them, the pictures, being sent in the air around me like the floating after-images of all the real pictures I make of the same children on the spinning piano stool in front of the silver-white background strobing on the excited filmy film of my retina. Back in the darkroom I drift around in the dark feeling my way around, around the vats of chemicals, the boxes of paper. I crack open the yellow canisters of spent film like eggs. I spool up rolls and rolls and rolls and rolls of film, bathing them like bars of soap in soapy water. The filmstrips spiral and drip-dry in viney jungle clumps around the room. I spend days enlarging the negatives onto the undeveloped swatches of blank paper. My wife Clare helps me here in the dark in the flashing light of the enlarger enlarging, in the diffuse candling safety light. I make pictures the old way with the sweet-smelling chemicals and the balsamic fixing baths, the big stop clocks ticking always ticking, the squeegee squeegeeing. Clare, my wife, and I do some dodging and burning, some over-and underexposing. We crop. We pull focus. I watch her making the pictures, all the techniques of retouching, smoothing the surface of a forehead, plucking an eyebrow, smoothing a cheek, pearling a tooth. She drips a dollop of white paint in an eye recreating the flash of my lights when the picture was made. All of this to give depth to the flat flat flat flatness of the pictures. Shadows and perspective, chiaroscuro with the airbrush’s air compressor hissing hissing. We score with the wax pencil. We measure the grainy graininess of the flesh, our eyes pressed into the loops. What will they become? These thems? What will we make of them? What will they make of themselves? I know one day (if we stay in the business) I will need to switch over to the digital pixels, the alternating codes, the electronic genetics, the ones and zeros. But, for now, we watch together (under the safety light) the incubation, the development, the emergence, the revelation of each face, face, face, face, before our eyes, beginning with their eyes opening, opening in the depthless depths of those white white fields.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253329561

Chapter Four

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

On the beach at Whale’s Mouth Bay, amid boulders and sea gulls, Teeg lay roasting in the sun. Against her naked back and rump the sand felt like a thousand nibbling flames. Salt-laden wind fanned her hair. Even through the breathing-mask she could smell the ocean. Between repair missions, when she was required to stay inside the Enclosure, more than anything else she missed the feel of sun on her skin.

During this trip she quickly finished her assigned job—replacing fuel cells on a signal booster atop Diamond Mountain—and had three hours left over for scouting. Most of the time she used for discovering how hospitable a place the bay might be, testing for radiation, toxins, soil nutrients, the quality of water. These last few minutes of her allotted time she lay basking in the sun, as a celebration for having found the right place at last. She would have to make sure Whale’s Mouth had been omitted from the surveillance net. It probably had, since no tubes or laser channels or signal avenues passed anywhere near the place. Just another piece of real estate long since erased from human reckoning. She hoped so. Phoenix could tell her for sure. And she would need to spend a week here, later on, to run more tests on plants and microbes and air before she could assure the other seekers that this was indeed the place for the settlement.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253223432

Chapter 2

Jim Cohee Indiana University Press ePub

Chapter 2

I liked Kukla, Fran, and Ollie, a Sunday afternoon puppet show Mom and I watched on a TV console, a small, soft-shouldered wooden box about three feet tall with a convex screen. I liked Ollie, the one-toothed alligator, a prankster. I liked The Honeymooners Saturday nights, especially about mid-show when Jackie Gleason would make a fist at Audrey Meadows and say, “You’re going to the moon, Alice,” and she would fold her imperial arms and stare him down. (How beautiful she was, and how helpless he was before her—just as I would be. I saved Audrey Meadows from drowning a million times in dreams.) I liked Wednesday Night Fights. I sparred alone on my bed and defeated hundreds of boxing opponents—they never saw the punches coming and boom! they went down with lame arms and legs like wrecked windmills. I liked Boston Blackie—it wasn’t on, alas, in 1957—a detective who wrestled criminals on the tops of apartment buildings. His head hung over the roof ledge. Then he threw them off and they died. And I liked Ramar of the Jungle. I packed tall frosted Tom Collins glasses with ice, poured RC Cola over it—the foam hissed—and curled up in the overstuffed chair to watch the guy walk into the quicksand on Ramar. He struggled to escape, but sank with hideous slowness inch by inch—flailing arms clutching at nothing. His head went down, then his hands. Then he was completely gone. His pith helmet floated on the mire. Amazing and wonderful. The most beautiful and truest television show ever made. Quicksand is how we all die! I dreamed about the pith helmet.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253019073

What I Was Doing There

Colin Rafferty Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

Finding a crowded spot on the island of Oahu isn’t hard. The island, home to Honolulu International Airport (upgrade your rental car to a convertible for just an extra five dollars a day!), contains the fiftieth state’s largest city, most thoroughly equipped shopping mall, and the majority of its main tourist sites. Several experienced travel guides suggest using the island merely as a jumping-off point to the other islands in the Hawaiian chain. Your most important Oahu experience, they say, should be walking through the open-air terminals of HNL to catch your flight to Lanai or Molokai or some other, less-crowded island.

But Elizabeth and I are here to visit some crowded locations, to be tourists. Neither of us has visited Hawaii, and we want to see the sights. And already our trip has been beset by delays and aggravations—we spent the night two nights ago catching fitful naps on the floor of LAX, having missed our connecting flight from Atlanta thanks to a storm. After arriving yesterday, we drove straight to the Department of Health in downtown Honolulu, parked not far from the volcano-shaped capitol building, and waited for an hour on a Friday afternoon in molded plastic seats for a pleasant woman to ask us several questions, the answers recorded dutifully before she handed us our marriage license, ready just in time for our beachside ceremony on Monday morning.

See All Chapters

See All Slices