Struggles of Assimilation
“For I felt that if I could put enough miles between me and the place from which that letter came, and if I could put enough events between me and the events mentioned in the letter, would I not be free to take everything just as it came and not see hundreds of years in every gesture, every word spoken, every face?” ~ Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid (31)
One of the most common problems that immigrants face in a new country is assimilating into that country’s society and culture. Sometimes this is due to the unpleasant experiences in their home country and the effect these experiences have on the immigrants’ ability to enjoy the better conditions in the new country. For example, in Jamaica Kincaid’s novel Lucy, the protagonist, Lucy, has a lot of difficulty assimilating into life in America because of her difficult experiences growing up in the West Indies. As a result, she developed a harsh view of the world and could not seem to enjoy the little things in America, such as daffodils or a sunny day. She also becomes lonely and isolated from everyone else. Lucy realizes that if she didn’t have her past weighing down on her shoulders, then maybe she would be able to “take everything just as it came and not see hundreds of years in every gesture, every word spoken, every face” (Kincaid, 31). This passage from the novel signifies the difficulties of assimilation and, more specifically, the syntax of the sentence portrays Lucy’s insecurity of her life in America and her uncertainty of her own assimilation.
One point that was emphasized in the novel was Lucy’s loneliness and isolation in America due to the hardships she endured in her native land. Similar to Lucy, Epiphanie Mukasano, in her book of poetry titled Kilimanjaro On My Lap, portrays her own loneliness as a result of the difficulties of adjusting and assimilating to life in Cape Town after she was forced to flee her home country of Rwanda. She cannot seem to forget the “rain of...