October 31, 2012
The short story, “The Father” by Bharati Mukherjee, the article “Serving up Hope” written by Stephanie Shapiro, and the two poems, ”Directions for Resisting the SAT” by Richard Hague and Gary Gildner’s poem titled “First Practice” and my experience at the Walk for Autism this Saturday all fall under the same theme of creating your own path and carving your own happiness. Each type of literature or activity conveys the same goal of a search for destiny and the attempt to find it.
In The Father, Mr. Bhowmick is searching for his individualism, but is presented with a few obstacles. He is faced with an American-like daughter and mother that do not support his Hindu beliefs. This obstacles and culture clash presents an issue and fuels the story. As the story begins, the reader begins to notice that the woman has more power. What she says, goes. The husband attempts to guard himself with comebacks, but ends up getting shut down by the wife once again. This observation is shown in the first scene. When Mr. Bhowmick is praying before breakfast, the wife makes him stop his prayers in order to eat the French toast. This shows an obstacle in searching for your own individuality, especially your spiritual one. As the breakfast was ready, Mr. Bhowmick’s prayers had just begun and were forced to stop them in order to listen to his wife. He proves this obstacles when he states, “The woman in his family were smarter than him. They were cheerful, outgoing, more American somehow.” This culture-clash is the biggest obstacle of them all. As the story continues, we realize that Mr. Bhowmick is very superstitious. As he begins his day and heads to his car, his neighbor sneezes. This sneeze was a symbol for bad luck and would not leave his driveway to leave for work. This superstition was part of the “Hindu myth stuff,” that his wife does not agree with. The reader later realizes that the Bhowmick family moved to American was his wife’s idea and he had to follow along. “She wanted America, nothing else,” he states. These examples are drawn to one conclusion. The conclusion being; Mr. Bhowmick did not have the strength to carve his own happiness. Listening to his wife was what he was good at and it ended up hurting him and his family in the long run. If you do not stand up for what you believe in and attempt to isolate yourself to realize what you want, your life and happiness will suffer.
The article, Serving up Hope written by Stephanie Shapiro was truly inspiring. This story was about a second chance of carving your own happiness and paving the way to success. This was made possible by the Sampson’s letting former drug addicts and convicts have a second chance at life to make a living for themselves. I have visited Hampden during my time here at Loyola and it was a sight to see. My first experience stepping out of the Loyola bubble was interesting. As I walked the two miles through the run-down communities I noticed myself staring at all the houses. Looking at the chipped paint and broken steps was unusual for me to see, coming from a crime-free, tight-knit community in Central, New Jersey. While walking to the Hampden Fest and seeing all of these houses, I realized how heartfelt it was to see all of the smiling faces of the owners sitting on their steps. They paved their own path of happiness, even though it was not as lucky as most of the students here. In relation, this article taught me that although these former convicts and drug addicts needed a push to form their own path, they did it and created their destiny, with a chef hat and all.
The first poem titled, “Directions for Resisting the SAT” presented a different approach to searching for your destiny and finding your individualism. This poem presented the topic of not relying on one materialistic test to determine how success you will become. Although the SAT is considered a make or break test and seemed like a big deal at the time, it does not define who you are for the rest of your life. The line break in the poem symbolizes this. When the lines separate in line 15 and 16, it is marking the individuality and allowing you to freely choose what you want to do. You are alone to make your decisions. The last line is isolated and states, “Make your marks on everything.” This line stands alone and is the most forceful and command like of them all. It summarizes the idea of finding that you are and creating your own happiness, alone.
The second poem titled, “First Practice” is unique and shows how people can be influenced by outside sources, the coach in this situation. The coach influences the players to win at their first practice. With the commands that are used such as, “Now” towards the end of the poem, it represents a role model that pushes one to do their best. With the harsh tone that the coach is characterized under, he allows no losers, only winners. Although the coach is extremely concerned about winning, the theme of this poem is still about finding oneself through the commands. With the voices that sway you a certain way, one should learn to be strong enough to choose your own path, regardless of the commands.
Lastly, my experience at the Walk for Autism ties into the stated themes above as well. On one cold Saturday morning, I decided to sign up for this walk. As my friend tried to talk me out of it, I would not listen to her. “It’s going to be so cold and you don’t know anyone there,” she said. “I don’t care,” I stated. The Walk was one of the best experiences of my Loyola career thus far. I met new friends and stood up for a cause. By ignoring the outside voices attempting to sway my decision, I paved my own destiny and carved my own happiness.