Literary Analysis

Literary Analysis - Michels 1 Megan Michels English 145...

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Michels 1 Megan Michels English 145 Section 42 June 08, 2009 TITLE A foreign diplomat comes into a new home in a completely different country. He needs a place to stay and a random family who volunteered is expected to accommodate him. His needs are different, his ideas are different, and he can barely speak their language. How is one expected to properly accommodate him, let alone grow from the experience? In the story, “Mr. Sumarsono,” Robinson demonstrates the benefits of being in such an uncomfortable situation, and how there is always something to learn from others. “Mr. Sumarsono,” takes place in New Jersey in 1959, when New Jersey was not a very diverse place. Susan, the narrator of the story, and her family take in a foreign diplomat from Indonesia, Mr. Sumarsono. When he arrives, he is the only Indonesian person getting off of the train. Through his unique worldly experience and his significantly different lifestyle, he illustrates to Susan a completely new way of thinking with a different perception of the people in her life. Author Robinson uses descriptive imagery and characterization of Mr. Sumarsono, Susan, and Susan’s mother to construct the story, “Mr. Sumarsono,” and presents the argument that having an open mind with multiple perspectives to view the world will ultimately lead to a more comprehensive understanding. Robinson carefully employs the use of imagery of the broken escalator in the beginning of the story to distinguish Susan’s family and demonstrate the perspective that Susan, the narrator, holds about her life in New Jersey. Robinson paints a picture in the reader’s mind when he illustrates the broken escalator that Susan’s family uses. “Exactly parallel to the escalator was a broad concrete staircase, with another group of people climbing it. We were separated only by the handrail so for a disorienting second you felt like you were looking at a mirror from which you were missing. This intensified the feeling received from climbing the stopped escalator – dislocation, bewilderment, doubt at your own senses.” Susan’s family is immediately found to be distinguishable from the
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Michels 2 rest of the crowd at the train station in New Jersey. They are the only ones climbing the stopped escalator, a feeling of separation that is enhanced from the fact that they have just picked up the only Indonesian man in the whole train station and were inviting him back to live with them for the week. Susan felt dislocated from everyone else because her family was so out of the ordinary at the moment, leaving her feeling doubtful of her own senses. This imagery is utilized in the story to reflect the perspective that Susan feels about her outside world from the beginning of the story, embarrassed, confused and doubtful. Not only did Robinson include the imagery of the broken escalator, but he also
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Literary Analysis - Michels 1 Megan Michels English 145...

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