When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine by Jhumpa, Lahiri examines the loneliness and isolation of being in a foreign land. She further shows that also those living in their own homes and country can also feel disconnected and alienated. Mr. Pirzada comes to America from Dacca, India. He meets a foreign culture, different people, an other way of life that he does not understand. Thus he has to begin the socialization process again.
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American practices are foreign and alien to him, and he can’t quite understand why local people carve pumpkins on Halloween or why they keep saying thank you. He is lonely and lost in this new country. Although he has a company that makes his life easier, such as Lilia’s family, where he goes to watch the news and have supper, he still feels lonely and detached. His urge to get a glimpse of current information on his homeland is an indication that he lacks something.
Unfortunately, India gets embroiled in a bitter war with her neighbor Pakistan. Despite Mr. Pirzada sending comic books and letters to his family back at home, they are unable to reach them since the local post office has broken down. Thus he has not had a word with them for several months. Lilia’s family has lived in America for an extended period and is proud of the opportunities that the country offers.
However, they still long for their motherland because they are socially alienated from the dominant values of Indian society. For instance, Lilia’s father complains, “the supermarket did not carry mustard seed oil, doctors did not make house calls, neighbors never dropped by without invitation,(Marcus 1). He also criticizes the America’s education system. This is the reason why he invites Mr. Pirzada to their home. This offers the opportunity to relate and socialize with a person with who they share the same cultural heritage.
Marcus, Ben. The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories. New York: Anchor, 2004. Print.