In Anne Tyler’s Your Place is Empty is a short story published in 1976 in the New Yorker magazine. The story centers on intercultural problems. The story tells of an Iranian woman, Mrs.Ardavi, and her difficulties in adjusting to the norms of American society. In my view, the Tyler is successful in portraying the difficulties between the two societies. From the onset, the writer exposes the differences in culture. First, Mrs.Ardavi cannot recognize her son at the airport. This is attributable to his Western form of dress. In my opinion, Hassan’s dress is a good example of cultural differentiation between the two societies.
In another instance, Taylor highlights the difference of the two societies’ diets. On her first day, Elizabeth, Hassan’s wife, offers Mrs. Ardavi bacon for breakfast. However, Islamic culture regards pork products as unclean. Mrs.Ardavi therefore opts not to eat the bacon. “Elizabeth and Hilary ate bacon and eggs, but bacon of course was unclean and Mrs.Ardavi never accepted any (Tyler, 262).” In my view, there is a rift between the two cultures, in terms of what they eat. Moreover, the difference in religion is a problem to Mrs.Ardavi. She cannot allow Elizabeth to do her laundry, due to Islamic laws.
The Plane Reservation is a short story by Massud Farzan. The Pahlavi University press published it in 1974. In the story, Massud talks about intercultural differences between Western and Iranian cultures. The story revolves around a young man named Morad, who arrives home after education in the United States. When Morad arrives home, his mother dispels what she thought would become of him. She states,” We were all thinking you would come back from America fat and white (Farzan 533).” In my opinion, the Iranians have a poor view of Western dietary habits. Morad’s mother and her perception of sharbat portray the Iranian view of what is healthy.
On Morad’s return, the taxi driver demands for an extra tip, due to Morad’s accent. Farzan also states that Morad’s parents were not happy with him. They expected him to come back a wealthy individual. Morad’s mother says, “…but in this country people look at your appearance and judge you accordingly (Farzan 534).” His father demands that he change his manner of dressing, to a more Western manner. As a result, Morad’s parents demand that the young man goes back to America. In my view, the writer highlights the differences in Iranian and Western culture. The Iranian culture values well dressed individuals, while, Western culture values people’s personalities, more.
Paths upon Water is a short story by Tahira Naqvi, published in 1989. Tahira attempts to highlight the problems Pakistani people have in fitting into American society and its norms. The story centers on Sakina Bano and her visit to America, to see her son Reza. On Sakina’s immediate arrival, she notices a large difference between the environment she is accustomed to, and the American one. The neatness of the lawns, sidewalks and roads amazes her. She says, “How nice everything is (Naqvi 248).” In my perspective, a rift exits between the two cultures, and their respective ways of life.
Later, her son, Reza, and a few companions take Sakina to the beach. There a difference between societal norms appears. On arrival, Sakina sees a woman dressed in a bikini, which deeply embarrasses Sakina. When she looks at Reza and his friend, she senses no discomfort in them (Naqvi 251). They have become acquainted with the American society’s norms. This is attributable to Islamic culture’s strict rules on what parts a woman can expose. From my view, there is a large rift in cultural norms between the two societies. However, the rift reduces with time, as seen through Reza.
Farzan, Massud. “The Plane Reservation.” Kashan to Kalamazoo: Poems & Poems in Translation. Shiraz: Pahlavi University Press, 1975. Print.
Naqvi, Tahira. “Paths upon Water.” Attar of Roses and Other Stories of Pakistan. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1997. Print.
Tyler, Anne. “Your Place Is Empty.” The Best American Short Stories and the Yearbook of the American Short Story. (1992). Print.