Romance and Family
Xiyun Yang, English 171, Sages and Satirists, Brown University, 2003
Sara Suleri's intricate, dense prose presents her family, her country and its history with the sagacity of retrospection and the originality of individual autonomy.
What an irritant I was to my intimates in those times. "Leave," they would conjure me and then, with angry impatience, "
In this passage, Suleri blends her reaction to her deteriorating relationship with a conversation with her sister. The seamless transition between the two scenes mirrors that of the natural progression of thought.
The line between romantic and family life is usually one that stays fairly stark and obvious for most people. Why does she juxtapose the intensely personal and individual experience of dealing with a deteriorating relationship with stories of her family?
He is the only western individual outside of her family to whom she devotes an entire chapter. Why does she do this? Is it simply to provide a foil for her family?
Suleri gives the reason for her attraction to Tom as that "He made things: that I think was it, in the early days of my lack of custom with such prodigious tangibility" (73). Later on, she states that "Ah god, I thought, the man is dying, dying of invention" (89). What do these two observations say about her relationship with Tom? What do they say about the idea of construction and invention? How does it relate to her perception of her family?
In the above passage, Suleri speaks of having "a hand upon your head that shapes itself unwittingly to someone else's cranium, so that every nerve end of fidelity in you leaps up to exclaim, 'this is not the cup my skull requires'?" How does Suleri view the confines of marriage and her cultural expectations? How does this relate to the statement from the first chapter that "There are no women in the third world" (20)? What is her tone when disagreeing with the cultural norm of marriage?
Last modified December 2003