Jasmine Essay

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Evans is a novelist, journalist, and instructor of writing. In the following essay, he explores the conflict between duty and desire inherent in Jasmine.

Desire is the root of American fairy tales: desire for riches, desire for fame, desire for better this different that. Duty suppresses desire. Jasmine, the Punjabi heroine and title character of Bharati Mukherjee's novel, debates whether to act according to desire or duty. The Indian consciousness in which she was raised, embodied by Dida, her grandmother, supports duty. In her culture, there is a greater connectedness, a sense that individual acts affect so much more than the individual. The Western consciousness, embodied by her Manhattan employers Taylor and Wylie Hayes, encourages desire. The notion of America as a free country seems, in this mindset, to be an invitation to pursue one's wildest inclinations, with little respect for those left behind.

The novel opens with...

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This section contains 2,125 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Jasmine Study Guide
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Literature of Developing Nations for Students
Jasmine from Literature of Developing Nations for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.