KEYWORDS: Subject, Void, the Thing, Trauma INTRODUCTION Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Going Ashore”, the last story of the trilogy of “Hema and Kaushik” from. Unaccustomed Earth is a collection of short stories from Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri. This is her second collection of stories, the first being the Pulitzer-winning Interpreter of Maladies. As with much of Lahiri’s work, Unaccustomed Earth considers the lives of Also present is the dilemma of coming between another person’s happiness. Hema goes to Italy. • Kaushik’s life story. • Edo’s party. • Their romantic dates. • Kaushik asks Hema to go with him. • She loses her bangle.

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I wanted to ask my father what on earth had possessed him to marry an old-fashioned girl half his age. I think I am finally beginning to really understand the connection between voice and distance, and the effect it can have on a story, on a reader.

He comes home for Christmas vacation to learn he has a stepmother and two stepsisters now! I found this story a lot less engaging than the first, and I think that is because jhumla is much less foing.

At first I was not even sure it was Hema he was addressing! This is how they are different. That does not mean there is not a great deal of emotion here! It is a big-brother emotion, not a thirteen-year-old-girl-with-a-crush emotion.

Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri

He takes his stepsisters for donuts, and it is a lovely scene. He wonders about their father, if they miss him. And then at the end, he is baby sitting them and discovers them looking through photographs of his mother, they were stored in a shoebox in his room where they are staying. He is outraged they would look at those pictures!

The pictures were put away after his mother died! He is quite cruel to them, and I wondered if they were too young to perceive just how cruel he was being, but no, they get it.

He storms out of the house, leaving them alone they have been taught the world is full of danger and drives up to Maine. He calls his father the jhum;a day and is scolded for leaving without saying goodbye.


Kaushik does not get scolded for yelling at the girls; he realizes they did not tell! More girls keeping secrets! And they were in his room, just like Hema had to give up her room for him over that time when his family came back.

Or maybe he does remember and he is just skirting around it. Gooing is extremely fragile when it comes to his mother and her death, this would be plausible too. I do not know! But it is a link, making girls cry, snow, borrowed rooms, Hema, and it peaks here in this very intimate, if very brief, passage, using ashoge voice. The third story is mostly in third person.

Hema catches us up. She is in Rome twenty years later. She is a professor of classics. She is to marry Navin. It is an arranged marriage. She has just had her heart broken by a married man who was stringing her along, and she is quite shut down.

We switch to Kaushik, still in third person, but his pov. Kaushik is a photojournalist the photos, they are very important, see?


He and Hema meet. They spend about six weeks travelling around Italy researching those darn Etruscans if you do not watch Jeopardy, you will not understand that, but never mind and having an affair. She falls in love. He falls in love, too, as much as he can. He even asks her… not to marry Navin. To come with him to Hong Kong, his next destination.

Hema notices this is not a marriage proposal and it does not allow her to continue her work. What does he have to be angry about?!

Hema goes to India for her wedding, and as she leaves Italy she forgets a bangle bracelet in security at the airport — it can not be retrieved in time so she leaves it behind. And then he goes to Thailand for a little break, where he finally swims, as his mother loved to do — another thread that weaves these stories together.


And it is Christmas. Well, I lost track of the exact timeline, but it seems it is for some reason I thought it was the late s but I guess not.

As soon as I saw Phuket and swimming in the same story I knew what was coming. For the last few paragraphs of this part of the trilogy she switches back to that very intimate Hema person-and-a-half voice. Hema is in India, preparing for her wedding, and she sees the tsunami from her viewpoint, not that she is in danger, but as it affected much of India. By then I needed no proof of your absence from this world.

I felt it as plainly and implacably as the cells that were gathering themselves in my body…. It might have been your child but this was not the case.

We had been careful, and you had left nothing behind. And I understand better the use of person-and-a-half in the first part as well, I understand why she is telling this now I said I thought there would be some tragedyit makes much more sense to me now — it is a funeral prayer, a memorial service!

This is a lovely trilogy! The Second Person Study, Part 1: You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account.

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AmericanLiteratureJessicaH: Going Ashore Summary Part 2

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