Wednesday, September 5, 2007

“When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine”

This story takes place in the autumn of 1971, and is narrated by a young girl. Lilia’s Indian-born parents play host to a man who is temporarily working in the U.S. Political strife in his native East Pakistan keeps Mr. Pirzada in the dark about his family’s whereabouts. Mr. Pirzada finds a substitute daughter in Lilia, who indulges his gifts of candy and his concern for her on the American holiday Halloween.

Lilia’s parents, from India, circle “familiar” surnames in their university directory and contact the people for social purposes. Did you have any reaction to this practice? Have you ever known anyone who did this?

What are other ways that first or second-generation Americans connect with people of the same race, religion or nationality?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

word up yo- dis short story showz how america is sheltered from foriegn affairz

Anonymous said...

this is a good story....the whole things about different cultures but they look the same..i can connect to that.

Anonymous said...

I think this story shows how although America is the mixing pot for many cultures it is still very hard for foreigners to adapt

Anonymous said...

i think that the experience just shows how this family tries to connect with their homeland using as many resources as they can. By looking put Indian "sounding" last names, I personally don't find that 'practice'-if thats what you wish to call it-weird at all. By looking for people who share the same cultural values you strengthen your moral and cultural values. In the story's case, it makes the family, especially Lilia, have a stronger connection to her culture, and she has a genuine interest to learn more about it.

I know by personal experience, that when you meet someone who shares the same cultural background, you feel this weird connection, that's hard to explain, but its a good feeling. One can relate to the other person, and they perfectly understand the "unsaid" (eg:stereotypes) when your cultural and ethical values clash with the other's beliefs

Lila said...

Thanks to "anonymous" for the above comment regarding the "practice" or searching for others with similar cultural values. I agree that it can be a major comfort to find people with whom you can leave things "unsaid" because of a shared background. And good point about the effect this has on Lillia's life: her memories of Mr. Pirzada are clearly meaningful to her.

--Lila

Anonymous said...

This story has three distinct layers. Its first layer is getting to know Mr. Pirzada through the eyes of a young Lilia. Its second layer is getting to know an older Lilia as she reflects back to the time when she came to know Mr. Pirzada. Finally, it is getting to know ourselves as we go through this journey with the characters and come to care about them. While our initial reaction was probably "Story about a bunch of foreigners... who cares?", we come to care deeply about them. This mirrors Lilia's experience of coming to care about Mr. Pirzada and his family. At first, he was just a foreign man about whom she gathered "data." Over time, this changed. The same thing happens for the reader. Over time, we realize that we do care about this story and the characters in it.
The BIG picture/moral of the story is that if we would take the time to get to know a person or group of people who are not like us, they become human to us, and we are able to care about them. Yes, it takes time, but in the end, the world could be a better place.

Anonymous said...

what does the candy represent?

JasmineTheBuizel said...

This story is good....until you have to analyse it to death X_x

Anonymous said...

I hated this story. For all of those who have to write a paper on this. Missing someone is the best theme to choose from. For all those taking Professor B.'s class at ACCC. May God have mercy for the pain you are enduring as I have.