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The Namesake

Good morning, afternoon, evening Mirella, Elisa, Federica, Daniele, Sergio, 

I read "Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri many years ago, when she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize with  these short stories of hers. A student of mine had to study it for her English university exams. Fascinating stories, with their characters personifying so delicate human feelings.  

People of Indian origin living in the States, multiple identities, more complex and richer. The way you feel when accepting to let the new identity a language represents, to be part of you and be shared with all the others you meet.  

For all these years, every now and then I've had the chance to listen to her while being interviewd on Radio Tre, time by time speaking a better Italian, nowadays with almost no accent  at all. 

What struck me was her deep understanding of what a language can be for a person, how poverty is significant in such a case and that it has to be consciously experienced when struggling to speak a new language, with no enough vocabulary and structures. The sense of inadequacy that shapes you so to make you develop surviving strategies to better perform, in order to be perceived adequately by the others. 

Recently, I've heard her speaking about the feeling of persisting marvel to be experienced when coping with the discovery any single moment of reality, knowledge and people. 

Human feelings to understand and experience at the same time while finding out that a language is you, shows your potential, obiectives to achieve, is your personality and your intelligence, colours your life, nurishes it and allows to be engaged in meaningful relationships with all those people you meet and you already have around you.  

Migrations and migrant people are such an opportunity for everybody to experience new realities, cultures and unexpected feelings. And to understand why they happen going backward in history. 

What is your experience with reading books written by immigrants? 

Do you have any special story to say about immigrants you know? 

What do you know about Jhumpa Lahiri? 

Write down what you can find about her and tell us in class. 

Enjoy your English and all the other languages you can be exposed to. 

Anna - Coordinator

Source: CULT, DEA Scuola 2014, such a stimulating text book  

 

 

Comments   

 
0 #2 Federica 2019-05-27 13:37
Although Jhumpa Lahiri was born in England from Bengali parents and she had lived in America for a long time, she had spent some years in Italy, in Rome, and she felt at home in Rome for much time. According to her, this feeling is connected with the use of language: if you feel at home when you live in America, you have to use the American language to write about you and your emotions, even if your nationality is another.
The title of the book shows the identity crisis that hit Jhumpa immediately afterwards her transfer from Italy to the States: she lived in America, but she continued to consider Rome her house. So, the language is the better expression of our emotions, what express the most our real side.
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0 #1 Federica 2019-05-27 13:35
I’ve never known Jhumpa Lahiri before and I’m very grateful to Anna for talking about her. It didn’t happen to me to read any writing by immigrants, or I don’t remember it now, but I’m agree with what was written about the feelings whose was taking the first steps in a new language: I’m living this experience!
Looking for some notices about Jhumpa Lahiri in various places of the net, I’ve found an article about her new book titled “Dove mi trovo”, which I want to mention in Italian language because it was written in Italian.
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