• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Clash of cultures coursework

Extracts from this document...


How does the "Young Couple", the "Train from Rhodesia" and "Dead Man's Path" explore the clash of cultures? Culture is the term used to describe the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterises an institution, organisation or group. In the stories the idea of culture is thoroughly underlined and made clear to the reader. The reader is given two different types of culture that share opposite views and ideas, and when placed together it creates a clash of cultures. Culture clash is the term used to describe the misunderstandings, and disagreements between different cultures. Culture is learned, whereas the clash is the unlearning and relearning of new cultures. It is a common theme expressed throughout many of these stories, and each has their own way of putting forward the author's ideas on the clash of cultures and how difficult it is for two very different cultures to put aside their differences and see things in the same light. "The Young Couple" is a short story by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who herself has a strong sense of Indian culture, having lived there herself for a period of time, which is heavily reflected in the story as she expresses the culture of a typical Indian family. The book is set in the early 1960s, which was a time when the two different cultures between an English girl and Indian family would have been extremely diverse, as the two have experienced different upbringings as well as a different set of values. These include the way they interact with people in their society, the way they speak as well as the things they expect from each other and also family values. The differences between the values of which both cultures share is emphasized a lot throughout the story. For instance in India, families are expected to do most things with each other so that the pleasurable experience can be shared amongst them: "Naraian's mother, sisters, sisters-in-law, always eager to go out shopping in a car, frequently urged her to join them. ...read more.


She had done quite a lot of things back in England.... but of course she realised that it was impossible to do anything like that here because of her, or rather the family's background and social standing. The sort of jobs this background and social standing permitted her she was not qualified to do so." This statement shows a strong culture clash in terms of what jobs people are allowed to do based on what social class you belong to. So instead Cathy has to make do with just sitting around in her flat, waiting for Naraian to come home. In England during the 1960s your family's social standing did not have as large an impact on what jobs you were allowed to take up compared to that in India. This is shown by the way in which Cathy has no choice but to remain jobless yet in England she had the chance to do numerous jobs: "She had done quite a lot of things in England, she had been a receptionist to a Harley Street specialist, a sales assistant in an airlines office, once for a brief while a waitress in a coffee bar". From this the reader gathers an insight into the way in which a particular status is upheld for an upper-class family living as part of Indian culture. The reasons why Cathy cannot get a job may appear bewildering to the reader, as it is clear to see she is willing to do so and has enough experience to get a basic job at that, and they may see this as being quite a trivial reason as to why she cannot get one. This contrasts to "Dead Men's Path", where Michael Obi is able to get a job as a headmaster of a Nigerian secondary school: "He was appointed headmaster of Ndume Central School in January 1949"and "He had sound secondary school education which designated him a 'pivotal teacher' in the official records". ...read more.


The way in which Michael speaks with the village priest makes him come across as being arrogant and having not much respect for his elders: "We cannot allow people to make a highway of our school compound". The way in which he refers to the pathway as being a "highway" may appear insulting on behalf of the village priest, who holds the pathway in such high regard, and even goes as far as to say that "the whole life of the village depends on it". Michael's lack of respect for his elders is mentioned earlier in the story in the statement: "He was outspoken in his condemnation of the narrow views of these older and often less-educated ones". However it is due to this that his school is violated after refusing to re-open the pathway to the villagers who hold it in such high regard. References to Western culture are mentioned frequently throughout the story, which includes explicit use of references by Michael's wife, Nancy, who uses words such as "modern" and "delightful". "A penny for your thoughts" is also a quotation she uses after imitating the women's magazine she is reading. Michael has a "passion for modern methods", which gives the reader the impression he does not agree with the traditional African culture in the area and this can be related to the way in which he does not stand for the pathway crossing through the school compound, as it does not follow his modern methods. Michael is also described as having a "sound secondary education, which designated him a 'pivotal teacher' in the official records". "Official records" shows Western bureaucracy- the use of too many rules and forms by officials, especially in government departments, which in this case would have been education. The point of having these references to Western culture is to emphasise the culture clash that the couple bring to Nigeria when faced with traditional African culture. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Comparing poems section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Comparing poems essays

  1. How are the relationships between men and women represented in "My Last Duchess", "First ...

    He must have been really angry with her for not showing him she loved him and appreciated him. Perhaps the Duke felt lonely and like she had betrayed him. As the poem continues we realize that the Duke in fact caused the Duchess's early demise.

  2. Examine the way in which Culture affects the relationships of the main characters in ...

    Soon after they keep on having sex Thebedi becomes pregnant but doesn't tell Paulus. I think that their relation ship weakens because before it was about what they both felt inside but then it just fades away and becomes all about sex.

  1. In Piano and Drums, Gabriel Okara has effectively managed to present two conflicting cultures, ...

    the feelings so easily drawn out by the sound of the drums. The sound of the piano is like a "labyrinth" of complexities and complications and even when he reaches the end of the maze, he is at a "daggerpoint" and the music kills the African inside him.

  2. Compare and Contrast the way the poets(TM) present the relationship between men and women ...

    burden on her back, just like the cross was on Jesus' back before his crucifixion, which could also show that he could have committed a crime to have the burden of the baby on his back. This makes a brilliant twist in the poem as it would have been the

  1. Poetry Coursework

    He must have had really negative feelings towards her; this is also shown when he repeatedly regarded his wife as an object. In "First Love" the man is the more active part in the relationship. All the love is coming from him; this is known as unrequited because he is not loved back.

  2. Discuss Merle Hodge'S Crick Crack Monkey As a Novel

    In Crick Crack Monkey Hodge makes the isolation felt by Tee become associated with cultural alienation. She had always been said to belong to an extended family culture where she feels part of the family but the western culture makes her feel out of place and she thus feels alienated from both cultures at a certain point.

  1. Essay to compare and contrast He Loved Light, Freedom and Animals and Pneuomconiosis

    "One step at a time; especially the stairs." It is quite jerky, as I can imagine his breathing and talking would be like. He then goes on to talk about his past and his experiences. His own brother also died of Pneumoconiosis, so he knows what he is facing.

  2. Different Cultures

    He did not want a meaningful relationship. Paulus wanted something physical, not to express his emotions. In my opinion Paulus is the type to play girls and doesn't understand a loving relationship. His body has matured far more than his heart and brain.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work