Mrs.dutta Writes a Letter

you will find what to do for the essay in uploaded document, you would’ve have to read a from a story which i already picked for you and in the uploaded file you would see what the argument of the paper should be and you could only use the story as the source and the only type of citation, if you mention the name of the story then you would only have to cite the page numbers in ()

the story i picked for you is Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter, and in the uploaded file you will see what you need to interpret in your argument essay

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How the laundry in “Mrs. Dutta writes a letter” symbolizes the relationship between Mrs. Dutta and her daughter-in-law

The story titled Mrs. Dutta writes a letter uses the third person point of view subjective to explore the behavioral and mental predicament of Mrs. Dutta, who has to live with his son’s family in California. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Dutta thought she would survive well on her own, however, after falling ill, she realized the need to move to America, from India, so that her son would take care of her. Apparently, Mrs. Dutta’s daughter-in-law, Shyamoli, is not comfortable with her stay. The author creatively uses laundry to symbolize the cold relationship between Mrs. Dutta and her daughter-in-law. The story presents laundry as a symbolic conflict that drives the plot of the story, and thus, presents the contrasting ideology of a liberalized American woman and a conservative Indian woman.

After explaining the circumstances that made Mrs. Dutta relocate to America, the author introduces the frosty relationship between Mrs. Dutta and Shyamoli. Apparently, Mrs.Dutta is not pleased with the way her daughter-in-law manages the house concerning disciplining the children, cooking, and disposing leftover food. These are minor issues contributing to the differences between the two women. However, the major point of contrast between Mrs. Dutta and Shyamoli is the way to deal with laundry. The narrator explicitly states, “Washing clothes has been a problem for Mrs. Dutta since she arrived in California” (Divakaruni 573). The problem was that Mrs. Dutta wanted to wash her clothes on a daily basis and hang them out in the sun to dry while her daughter-in-law insisted on using the washing machine over the weekend. Shyamoli argues that it was not appropriate for them to hang their clothes outside to dry because the standards of the neighborhood did not allow. On the other hand, Mrs. Dutta was not comfortable keeping dry clothes in her room where she also kept pictures of her gods.

Eventually, Mrs.Dutta found a way of cleaning her laundry after the family left for work and school. She would wash her laundry, take them out to dry near the neighbor’s fence and remove them before the family came back. Her act of going against the advisory of the daughter-in-law provided a leeway for the escalation of their conflict. Mrs. Dutta saw her decision to wash and hang her laundry while the family was away, as a creative way to survive in America. In her mind, she thought it was a new way “of solving problems creatively” (Divakaruni 575). Unfortunately, Mrs. Dutta’s secret acts did not remove the ideological difference between her and the daughter-in-law.

The difference in the manner Mrs. Dutta and her daughter-in-law perceived the issue of laundry was symbolic of a wider field of a cultural distinction between the two women. On several occasion, Mrs. Dutta fails to imagine how Shyamoli had transformed from the timid Indian girl she was off to America a few years back to the now authoritative and controlling lady that she now has to deal with. The Indian culture expects the wife to be submissive to not only the husband but also the mother-in-law. Mrs. Dutta explains that her mother-in-law used to scold her when teaching her how to be a good wife by waking up early before everyone else in the family (Divakaruni 568).  However, in America, the situation is quite different. Shyamoli is not a modern woman who believes the wife is equal to the husband, and the mother-in-law should not interfere with how the daughter-in-law treats her husband.

The issue of the laundry presents the ideological conflict clearly when Mrs. Dutta is aggrieved because her daughter-in-law folds her inner garments in the family room. Mrs. Dutta even wished “the ground would open up and swallow her” (Divakaruni 574) because of seeing her baggy bras out in the open before everyone in the family room. The traditional upbringing of Mrs.Dutta made her believe that inner clothing are private and should never be held in the public before the whole family. Mrs.Dutta also believed that in no way should a man assist the wife in household chores as her daughter-in-law suggested to Sagar, her son. On the other hand, Shyamoli has adopted the modern way of life in America that allows the husband to assist in all manner of household work. Shyamoli tries to explain her modern ideology to the mother-in-law, but the idea was too liberal to grasp.

It is evident by not that the two women are on different platforms culturally. Their differences are elevated by the simple issue of how to deal with laundry in the house. The modern woman, the daughter-in-law, believes that a man can help the wife in doing some laundry work. She believes that in the modern age, it is unacceptable to use clothing lines to dry clothes. On the other hand, the traditional Indian woman, Mrs. Dutta, believes that dirty laundry should never be kept in the room together with the sacred religious artifacts. She believes that it is the sole responsibility of the wife to do laundry work.

The laundry-fueled conflict reached its climax when Mrs. Dutta’s “small victory and secret” was uncovered by the neighbor who complained to Shyamoli about the unacceptable behavior of hanging clothes over the backyard fence. Ironically, the same neighbor that Mrs. Dutta tried to socialize with made her detest clear to the daughter- in-law. The pressure that had built up since Mrs. Dutta arrived at her son’s house blew up as the daughter-in-law came out apparently by making the husband know his mother is a nuisance staying with them. From this point, it is clear that the small laundry problem identified at the beginning of the story had culminated to a serious conflict that motivated Mrs. Dutta to go back to India.

Obviously, the conflict between Mrs. Dutta and the daughter-in-law was never based on laundry only. However, the author elevated to laundry issue to act as a symbol of the cultural difference between the modern American woman and the traditional Indian woman.  The two divergent cultures could not co-exist because of many conflicting issues. The conflict was never restricted to the daughter-in-law, but also the son and the grandchildren of Mrs. Dutta. However, the author chooses to focus on the core protagonists in the cultural conflict that had many differences symbolized by the laundry issue. What the modern American women saw to be acceptable and right was an abomination to the conservative Indian woman that was yet to embrace the cultural change in the modern world.

Work Cited

Divakaruni, Chitra, “Mrs. Dutta writes a letter” in Tan, Amy, and Katrina Kenison. The Best American Short Stories, 1999. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Print.p 567-583

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