The Third and Final Continent

Moving from the eastern to western hemisphere can have a drastic culture shock to a person. In the chapter “Third and Final Continent”, by Jhumpa Lahiri, the narrator talks about his journey which took him from his homeland in India with only ten dollars in his pocket to London where he went to school in order to get an education and better himself. He then went to The United States where he attended MIT in Boston for graduate school; even though he left his homeland the narrator still practiced some traditions while trying to assimilate to western society. In United States the main character gets help from an old lady named Mrs. Croft, who provides him with a room for ten dollars a week and shows him that one can pass on traditions like she did with her daughter Helen. The main character represents the common immigrate struggle of balancing out the old and new traditions. Throughout the story the reader can see that the narrator struggles to retain his old traditions, and adapt to new cultural norms while still attempting to pass down his own traditions to his American born son.

The Narrator struggles to choose which traditions to keep, and which to cast away as he assimilates in to western culture. One of the ways he grabs hold of his old traditions is to eat egg curry with his hands, and to walk around barefoot. “Took turns cooking pots of egg curry, which we ate with our hands on a table covered with newspapers” (Lahiri 140). “We lounged barefoot in drawstring pajamas” (Lahiri 140).This explains that the narrator retaining his traditions by eating food from India, and walking barefoot around his house. Since food is usually how people communicate their culture and traditions to other people. That’s why the narrator eats traditional food with his hands, so he can be grounded in his traditions. Another tradition he chooses to uphold is arranged marriages. An arranged marriage is when the bride and groom are selected …