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Leaving

1. Nowadays, many immigrants have moved to America(north, central, and south) for many reasons, searching for a fresh start. My family was one of them. I was born in Egypt and lived there for six years of my life. My family’s decision to immigrate to Canada was basically for my future. At that time, the state of the Egyptian government was very unstable, the economy was poor and there were many problems between Christians and Muslims in the country. Also, the education system in Egypt is not one of the best in the world. So, thinking of my future, my parents decided to immigrate to Canada.

I have been living here for 12 years now. My country will always be the best to my eyes but I have to say my place is in Canada. In one’s life, it is highly likely that one will hear somebody say “I’ve been lucky to have some great opportunities acting with some great people since leaving my country” or “ I have certainly been kept busy since leaving the street! ” talking about how much his life is better in another country. In M. G. Vassanji’s short story, “Leaving” we followed the plot which took place in Tanzania in the 21st century.

The story gives a clear representation of immigrant’s lives, their motives and their most dominant struggles. The story can be perceived from many different angles with the use of context, the character’s evolution, the language used and the plot. The origin of “ Uhuru Street” and more specifically of “Leaving” has much to do with the origin of M. G. Vassanji. Vassanji is a Canadian writer of Indian identity. He was born in Kenya and spent his early years in the south of Asia, in Tanzania. In his written pieces, he concentrates on the situation of south Asians living in Africa.

There, we can already see a direct link of vassanji’s life and the people he writes about. Much like Aloo in “Leaving”, he even received a scholarship to the university of Massachusetts. In his stories, Vassanji analyzes the lives of those people, which are affected by the several migrations. The short story that I chose takes place in Tanzania, Africa. It involves an Indian family living in Africa dealing with the possibility of migration of one of the sons to America and how this could affect his and his whole family’s life.

In the story, the son is helped by his family to go to university in America. The mother suffers because she is a widow who raised four children and has trouble letting her son go. “Leaving” mainly talks about the leaving of the place where our roots are, nowing that everything will change. M. G Vassanji’s style is very unique. It is rather simple and direct combining real life events with heart-felt emotions, nationalities and historical facts. This author had many motives and purposes in writing this story.

First of all, this story is a reproduction of a part of his experience because he went through the same life issues as Aloo did. Secondly, the story is a representation of the fears of Indians and immigrants in general. In “Leaving”, the mother fears that her son will loose a part of his heritage, living in a country where there is no link to it and where there is no daily practice of it and she risks loosing her son. She is also afraid of letting him go because of her protective nature and roots. Third of all, Vassanji intended to show the reader what immigrants go through, what their values are and how they live.

Aloo’s motive for leaving Africa even though he was not accepted in the program he applied for says a lot about the living conditions of immigrants to Africa. 2. A)The story is about the life of an Indian family of a widow mother, her two daughters and two sons living in Africa. At the beginning, we learn that the two daughters have gotten married and the mother misses them. Aloo’s mother, as we remark, places all her hope in her son Aloo hoping he will be a man with good opportunities followed by a bright future. Aloo and the narrator are the youngest of 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls, raised by their widow mother.

We learn as we read the story that the daughters are married and out of their mother’s house. This leaves a large burden on the mother’s shoulders as she starts feeling emotions of loneliness. One day, the family sells their store and move from Uhuru Street to Upanga, which was described as peaceful and quiet. During Aloo’s graduate year, he goes on a life changing fieldtrip with a former professor back from abroad. His chat with the professor was the turning point that made Aloo get courage to apply to an American university.

In reaction to this desire, Aloo’s mother humored the boy, feeling this was a waste of time. she did not want to get his hopes up only to see them shattered afterwards. When the character finally receives the letter from the California institute of technology, Aloo learns he has been accepted in the agriculture program. Aloo initially wanted to go into medicine and had gotten accepted in the local university of Tanzania. Mother, surprised by the news, kept trying to put Aloo down to protect him and keep him from leaving telling him they did not have enough money.

She also joked about how some of his uncles in America would help with financial aid. When Aloo kept insisting, they all decided to confide in an old friend, Mr. Velji. Mr. Velji was very impressed by Aloo’s straight A average and said that it would be a good opportunity and a good experience for the young man. Mother had a hard time letting her son go but ended up doing it to make him happy. The final passage of the story is a letter from Aloo written from London telling his family how much London is a beautiful place and sharing his wonderful experience with them.

All the events that happened in the plot are a brief explanation of the passage. First, the event of the mother’s letting her other son, the narrator, go to America foreshadowed that she would have problems letting Aloo go as well but that she would finally let him leave. Second, when Aloo started having hope to go to America and was determined to go, foreshadows the fact that he would expect so much from his trip and would change during this trip as we read in the passage. Third of all, when the mother chose to ask Mr.

Velji’s opinions about Aloo’s departure, we could see that she knew what she was doing. She knew that, with his experience from going to America himself, he would be able to judge the situation wisely. This can be related to the character’s evolution in the passage. 2. B) We can see that, in this specific passage, two characters have evolved: Aloo and the mother. In the beginning of the story, the reader’s perception of Aloo is a young adult chasing after his dream of getting into the medicine program. He was viewed as an excellent student with a straight “A” average.

When he receives the letter from the university of California back and finds out he was accepted, he decides he would go to the university because of the fact that he was an Indian being accepted and welcomed by many fraternities in an American university. we can see that his acceptance was a very unusual thing happening because of the discrimination that exists in America nowadays towards immigrants. This event marked the start of his evolution. The passage itself is a letter written by Aloo to his family from London, where e had stopped to visit a friend, telling them how the places he has visited are so different and so beautiful.

This passage can have many interpretations. Aloo can be simply sharing a wonderful experience with his mother and siblings or he could be telling them that finally he is living and that what he used to live in Asia is not good enough. In London, he felt as if he was in a world of freedom and opportunities and that Asia was a prison that he escaped from. The second character to whom we can associate a certain evolution in the passage of the short story “Leaving” is Aloo’s mother. Throughout the beginning of the story up to the middle, the mother had been rather neutral about Aloo’s going away to university.

She did not want to encourage him because of many reasons. First of all, she knew that being of Indian origin, he would probably have more trouble than Americans in getting into the university. She did not want to get his hopes up and then see all of his dreams shattered because of the discrimination that exists in the U. S. A. Secondly, she knew that if he ever was accepted and did go away to university, he would probably like his life there more than his life in dare s salam and therefore would not think about coming back.

On the other hand, she also was afraid that he would loose a part of his Indian identity if he went to another country and changed his way of living. Basically, in all of the preceding reasons, the mother just wants to protect her child from the outside world that she knows nothing about. Then, in the second half of the story, the mother’s behavior and view concerning Aloo’s departure slowly starts changing. Her love for her son, her protective ways and seeing her son’s dreams being shattered when she tells him that he will not be leaving make her start to see that she needs to learn to let go.

In the passage, after the mother has read Aloo’s letter, she stares into the distance. She stares into the distance because she sees what she feared happening in front of her eyes. At this point, we see that she is still worried about her child especially after her interpretation of the words in his letter, but she is ready to accept what life brings him and let him build the bases of his own life. I think time is the wisest counselor for her. 2. d) In the passage, there is a sentence that has a rather hidden meaning from Aloo’s point of view.

Vassanji wrote, “Even the mountains are clean and civilized”. This part of the phrase means that Aloo is criticizing his old life, the life with his mother and siblings in Tanzania as to say that he has finally reached what is the real civilization. He is basically showing them that he is finally in a better place when he never even imagined of going there until a few months before. Vassanji wrote: “Aloo’s first letter came a week after he left, from London where he’d stopped over to see a former classmate. It flowed over with excitement. How can I describe it,’ he wrote, ‘the sight from the plane…mile upon mile of carefully tilled fields, the earth divided into neat green squares…even the mountains are clean and civilized. And London…Oh London! It seemed that it would never end…blocks and blocks of houses, squares, parks, monuments…could any city be larger?… How many of our Dar es Salaams would fit here, in this one gorgeous city…? A bird flapping its wings: Mr Velji nodding wisely in his chair, Mother staring into the distance. ” 3. As I mentioned before, this specific passage, can be viewed in two ways.

The most obvious one is that Aloo’s letter is simply a way of expressing his wonderful experience and sharing this happy moment with his family with no other intention. This interpretation is a rather innocent interpretation of Aloo’s character in the way that he is sharing his excitement of seeing things he has never even imagined before. The other decipherment of this passage is an unfavorable one. The view is that Aloo wrote the letter as a criticism of the Asian lifestyle and as a method of telling his family how he is in a better place and has a better life.

Some may even read the mother’s reaction of staring into the distance as a selfish one. The mother would be thinking about how her son has left her and went to a better place after all she did for him. She might even be jealous of the fact that her son has many opportunities that she never got to have as a young adult. Of course she is happy that he gets to go and chase after his dreams but she is sad at the idea that he chose his dreams over his mother. 4. With the use of context, character’s evolution and plot, we can see that this passage has a large variety of interpretations.

Aloo’s words are either perceived as innocent and good or selfish and bad. He could be writing to his family to share a wonderful, breathtaking experience or he could be writing to tell them how much life in Africa is a prison and how he has finally found the real life. Either way, the most important aspect of this passage is the fact that Aloo left his a country that resembled his own and people who are like him to go towards the unknown. What are his motives for doing so? The predominant incitement for this choice is the fact that he is an Indian boy being accepted and highly welcomed by several fraternities to the university.

This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity because the Indians and immigrants in general, from what we understand from the story, were discriminated against at that time in America. Etymology of words: Green: “O. E. grene, earlier groeni, related to O. E. growan “to grow,” from W. Gmc. *gronja- (cf. O. Fris. grene, O. N. gr? nn, Dan. gron, Du. groen, Ger. grun), from PIE base *gro- “grow,” through sense of “color of living plants. ” The color of jealousy at least since Shakespeare (1596); “Greensleeves,” ballad of an inconstant lady-love, is from 1580. Meaning of “a field, grassy place” was in O.

E. Sense of “of tender age, youthful” is from 1412; hence “gullible” (1605). Greenhorn (containing the sense of “new, fresh, recent”) was first “young horned animal” (1455), then “recently enlisted soldier” (1650), then “any inexperienced person” (1682). Green light in figurative sense of “permission” is from 1937. Green and red as signals on railways first attested 1883, as nighttime substitutes for semaphore flags. Green beret originally “British commando” is from 1949. Green room “room for actors when not on stage” is from 1701; presumably a well-known one was painted green. ”[1] Block solid piece,” c. 1305, from O. Fr. bloc “log, block,” via M. Du. bloc “trunk of a tree” or O. H. G. bloh, both from PIE *bhlugo-, from *bhel “a thick plank, beam. ” Slang sense of “head” is from 1635. The meaning in city block is 1796, from the notion of a “compact mass” of buildings; slang meaning “fashionable promenade” is 1869. Extended sense of “obstruction” is first recorded 1649. The verb “to obstruct” is from 1570. Blockhead “stupid person” (1549) was originally a head-shaped oaken block used by hat-makers. Blockade first used 1680, with false Fr. ending (the Fr. word is blocus). Blockhouse is c. 500, of unknown origin. ” Flappig/Fly “”to soar through air,” O. E. fleogan (class II strong verb; past tense fleag, pp. flogen), from W. Gmc. *fleuganan (cf. O. H. G. fliogan, O. N. flugja, M. Du. vlieghen, Ger. fliegen), from PIE *pleu- “flowing, floating” (cf. Lith. plaukiu “to swim”). The O. E. plural in -n (cf. oxen) gradually normalized 13c. -15c. to -s. Notion of “flapping as a wing does” led to sense of “tent flap” (1810), which yielded (1844) “covering for buttons that close up a garment. ” Flying buttress is from 1669. Fly-fishing (from fly (n. )) is from 1653; while flying fish is from c. 511. Flying saucer first attested 1947, though the image of saucers for unidentified flying objects is from at least 1880s. Flying Dutchman ghost ship first recorded c. 1830, in Jeffrey, Baron de Reigersfeld’s “The Life of a Sea Officer. ” Slang phrase fly off the handle “lose one’s cool” dates from 1825. On the fly is 1851. Flying colors (1706) is probably from the image of a naval vessel with the national flag bravely displayed. ” Distance “c. 1290, from O. Fr. destance, from L. distantia “a standing apart,” from distantem (nom. distans) “standing apart, separate, distant,” prp. f distare “stand apart,” from dis- “apart, off” + stare “to stand” (see stet). The figurative sense is the same as in stand-offish. Phrase go the distance (1930s) seems to be originally from boxing. ” Plane “flat surface,” 1604, from L. plantum “flat surface,” properly neut. of adj. planus “flat, level, plain, clear,” from PIE *pla-no- (cf. Lith. plonas “thin;” Celtic *lanon “plain;” perhaps also Gk. pelanos “sacrificial cake, a mixture offered to the gods, offering (of meal, honey, and oil) poured or spread”), suffixed form of base *pele- “to spread out, broad, flat” (cf.

O. C. S. polje “flat land, field,” Rus. polyi “open;” O. E. , O. H. G. feld, M. Du. veld “field”). Fig. sense is attested from 1850. The verb meaning “soar, glide on motionless wings” is first recorded 1611, from M. Fr. planer (16c. ), from L. planum on notion of bird gliding with flattened wings. Of boats, etc. , “to skim over the surface of water” it is first found 1913. ” Maps [pic] [pic] Ramatan Abdel-Maksoud Analysis of “Leaving” 603-103-04 David Fielding March 6th 2009 ———————– [1] http://www. Etymonline. com (all etymologies of words)

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