Essay: Jasmine; a Novel by Mukherjee

Sample Essay

The novel is an almost careful and deliberate celebration of the immigrant American dream of freedom and prosperity.  Mukherjee beautifully highlights the various changes and transformations that Jasmine, a 20th century non-white illegal immigrant to America, goes through as she journeys between rural India and suburban California.

The author beautifully portrays her gradual assimilation into her new surroundings and her subconscious discovery of the various personal and social freedoms now at her disposal.  As Jasmine evolves between the two extremes of Jyoti Vijh and Jane Ripplemeyer, and eventually an independent-minded Jase, with her strength and determination, she inadvertently ends up representing the indomitable spirit of all those who come to America’s shores in search of peace and prosperity.  However, in offering us a glimpse of this transformation, Mukherjee masterfully highlights the various hardships and setbacks that accompany her character’s journey and, by that extension, that of most “refugees and mercenaries and guest workers” that make this journey in search of their American dream.  (Mukherjee, 75)

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