Language is viewed as one of the major factors that bring out the meaning of culture. This illustrates that for a culture to be interpreted, we must have a language. Therefore, when we have people who speak the same language, we can say that the group of individuals has similar characteristics that make them belong to the group. Individuals who claim a sense of belonging to a particular group must conform to the way of life of that particular group. Therefore, this explains that the meaning of a culture is brought out in a language and this describes its representation. “Language is one of the ‘media’ through which thoughts, ideas and feelings are represented in a culture. Representation through language is therefore central to the processes by which meaning is produced” (Hall 1).
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There are a number of cultural traits that help bring out a number of issues concerning life in relation to human interaction like race, religion, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality. Each culture has its own way of looking at these mentioned issues making each culture different from another (Jolivétte 79). For instance, analyzing a Soap Opera “A Love Story” which involves two different cultures; the Indians and the Brazilians, the themes covered are related to religion, race and ethnicity apart from the dominant theme, which is love. Characters involved go through a difficult situation trying to fight against their individual cultures. This story clearly brings out the contrast between the two cultures by presenting the possibilities and impossibilities of the two cultures embracing each other.
The main characters involved in bringing out this particular issues include; Opash, Maya, Dudda, Indira, Bahuan, Surya, Cammila and Raj. Raj, the son of Opash and Indira falls in love with a Brazilian lady, Dudda, but he cannot marry her because his parents can never allow their son to marry a girl from a different culture as it is against their way of life. Raj therefore ends up marrying Maya who is a suitor that his parents selected for him.
This impossibility of an international marriage is due to the contrasting ideas about race, religion and ethnicity which are called cultural stereotypes. Such cultural stereotypes have been mentioned by Hall as to have originated from varying cultural forces and stressing on cultural differences than cultural similarities. He writes that “there are three major moments when the ‘West’ encountered black people giving rise to an avalanche of popular representations based on the marking of racial differences” (Hall 239).
Though these two individuals love each other, they can never be together because of their different religious beliefs. The stereotypes regarding Brazilian ladies which Indians people have, make Opash hate Dudda with a passion. According to him, he believes that Brazilian ladies are immoral. Maya, on the other hand, loves Bahuan who is an outcast according to the Indian culture. Her mother is frustrated by this idea and tries her best to separate Maya from Bahuan, but in vain.
Even in her marriage, she secretly sees Bahuan. This is another issue that causes conflict in the sense that culture has certain values that need to be followed, if not the consequences affect the particular individuals even if ascribe to the culture. This behavior has been captured by Hall while he writes concerning people’s unconscious relations with significant others. Hall writes “Our subjectivities, they argue, depend on our unconscious relations with significant others” (Hall 238). The differing stereotypes held against people of different cultures blind the aforementioned characters from having a direct assessment of individuals and instead embracing collective views.
This issue of stereotyping is a dangerous aspect in relation to how people view one another as it results into exclusion (Stampe 48). This denies the possibility of any meaningful discourse about the individual involved. Other characters that assist in bringing out the contrasting culture of the Brazilians and Indians are Surya and Camilla. The two refuse to go against the main factor that brings them together, that is, love and against all odds they triumph.
Though it is a difficult experience for both characters, they still manage to overcome the obstacles on their way. Cammila the Brazilian lady tries to overcome the stereotype associated with the Brazilian ladies by all means by proving to them that she is ready to be like them, that she is ready to change from being a Brazilian to an Indian. This works out so well because she ends up marrying the love of her life.
Yet in another movie “Guess Who” we encounter two main characters from different cultures. Simon is an American while his girlfriend, Theresa is an African American. In this case, the two families find it odd for the two characters to have fallen in love because of the stereotypes associated with both cultures. The main idea that separates them is race. Percy, Theresa’s father, does not like the whites and this disliking attitude goes on throughout the story until at the end, after realizing that he was denying the daughter a chance to be happy, he agrees to the fact that they should be together.
The above two stories clearly explain the issues associated with culture and how individuals suffer due to the contrasting ideas brought out in their differing cultures. Though, we have those characters, who managed to triumph over such obstacles, it is not usually an easy task. Thus, the difference in cultures is a definite indication that a way of life determines how people are going to look at you and this is made possible through the use of language whether in form of sounds or symbols.
Hall, Stuart. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: Sage Publications, 2007. Print.
Jolivétte, Andrew. Cultural Representation in Native America. New York: Rowman Altamira, 2006. Print.
Stampe, Jennifer. You Will Learn about Our Past: Cultural Representation, Self- determination, and Problems of Presence. New York: ProQuest, 2007. Print.