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“Swimmer Among the Stars” by Kanishk Tharoor Essay

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Updated: Sep 7th, 2022

In the story Swimmer among the Stars, which is a chapter in the book of the same name, ethnographers visit a woman – the last speaker of her native language. During their communication about her mother tongue, several important themes and stories rise that will make readers feel nostalgic and also find something for themselves. Even though the story develops around the speech, the central theme that concerns the author and reader is the issue of belonging.

Language is the connection with family, culture, and the community in which the person was born. Native speech is something people use primarily to study the world around them. Moreover, by forming speech skills in our mother tongue, we simultaneously demonstrate aesthetic attitude to nature, man, society, art. It is possible to find something not acceptable to other languages, such as different words for expressing gratitude in the main character’s speech. Thus, people live while their dialect is alive, and their heritage is maintained. If it disappears, the world will become less diverse and poorer in its culture.

Speaking of the problem of belonging in the story, one can think of a passage in which a woman recalls speaking with dishes in her native language (Kanishk, 2018). She just needed to share something as important and close as her mother tongue. Her children were not able to learn it, so she felt sadness and loneliness. Conversations are an essential way of social interaction, and if they take place in a native dialect for both sides, people feel that they are part of something great and important.

Thus, Kanishk Tharoor, through a story about the last speaker, raised several philosophical problems endlessly discussed by thinkers. Perhaps the answer to them can not always be found. However, after reading the chapter, readers can rethink some parts of their lives – belonging or loneliness, communication with family, connection to native culture, and many others. The main thing to note in this story is that every language deserves to be spoken.

References

Kanishk T. (2018). Swimmer among the stars. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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IvyPanda. "“Swimmer Among the Stars” by Kanishk Tharoor." September 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/swimmer-among-the-stars-by-kanishk-tharoor/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "“Swimmer Among the Stars” by Kanishk Tharoor." September 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/swimmer-among-the-stars-by-kanishk-tharoor/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) '“Swimmer Among the Stars” by Kanishk Tharoor'. 7 September.

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