Throughout the semester we have discussed changing homelands, most of which were changed by some sort of invasion. The most common question pertaining to this topic is whether or not one can return to that homeland and whether or not it will be able to remain the same.
“Jasmine” is the perfect example of not being able to return home. Not so much because her home had been changed, but because she had seen other areas which put the destruction and horrors of her homeland into perspective.
A particular quote stood out to me while reading the novel. After we, as the reader, are exposed to scenes that tell of Jasmine’s childhood and initial birth circumstance, Jasmine makes it known that her own mother tried to end her life to save her of the pain and suffering she would inevitably encounter as a dowryless bride. Jasmine says, “I survived the sniping. My grandmother may have named me Jyoti, Light, but in surviving I was already Jane, a fighter and adapter.” (40).
When I read this I was literally moved. These lines proved to be so powerful and insinuate much more than what the words say. These few sentences provide the reader with information regarding her homeland and whether or not she could, not even return home, but live within the very world she was born into. Women within this society suffer regardless of economic status, it was horrifying to read about the widow burnings and know that there is in fact truth behind the descriptions.
Jasmine makes known that she never fit into her culture from the first chapter of the book when she not only raises her voice to an elder man, but also refers to herself as a sage and, in that way, segregates herself from the other women. From the quote I previously mentioned, we learn that Jasmine was never meant to stay in her birth land, she was already unlike others there, and she would leave.
I found it remarkable that this particular homeland is on a totally other level than the others we have studied this semester. The homeland Jasmine was born into was from the gecko unsuitable for her, however, remained unchanged, the way of life she was intended to live had been that way for the entirety of her life as well as most others within the culture. Contrastingly, in “Things Fall Apart”, the reader is exposed to a homeland that the some citizens cannot return to because it has been tainted by foreigners and is therefore unable to go back. In “Loving and Longing in Bombay” the reader is shown modern versus traditional views, as in “Sons for the Return Home, and “Kisses in Nederends”, where modern medicine is paralleled by traditional methods.
“Jasmine”, is unlike any other novel we have read this semester. The concept of not fitting into one’s homeland from birth is a very interesting concept which we have not yet seen before through any of the other works we have read.