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LCS LONG PAPER 2 - Mike Blasius Professor Coughlin April 7...

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Mike Blasius Professor Coughlin April 7, 2008 LCS 151 The Struggle of Outsiders Being socially accepted is an aspect of life which most people enjoy and most likely take for granted. Others however find themselves in the position of being an outsider or a person who does not belong. They find themselves caught in between ethnic, social, and cultural categories. This is a very troubling situation for these people because they are constantly feeling left out from the groups they wish to be a part of. Specifically, Gogol from The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, Anil from Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje, and Marje from Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi experience this plight of being an outsider first-hand. In these works, the central characters struggle with their identities as outsiders because they are members of more than one social group. They find themselves caught in between these groups and thus have a clouded self and external identity. They all try to dodge the common stereotypes they fall into by assimilating as much as possible into their desired culture. No matter what they do, however, it is nearly impossible for them to fit in due to their outsider status. During their struggle to lose their outsider status, the characters from these various works will usually overcompensate for the fact that they do not fit in. Every single character exhibits this trait starting with Gogol. As a child Gogol learns of his outsider status right away as exhibited in the graveyard scene when he does not find his name on a tombstone while the other
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children do. He compensates for this later in his life by finding a girlfriend whose family has very standard American values. This makes him feel more comfortable as an outsider because he at least feels like he fits in with her American family. Marje also tries to compensate for the fact that she does not fit in. Curiously enough, Marje also finds a lover whom makes her feel more comfortable for herself. When Marje marries, she finds solace in herself for marrying a soldier who was involved in the war she ran away from. Also, Marje lies about her Iranian origin in order to feel less like a foreigner. Marje explains her dilemma during her time in Vienna when
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LCS LONG PAPER 2 - Mike Blasius Professor Coughlin April 7...

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