Exhibit of Revision
The general Idea of essay one was, in my opinion, rather sound. It was that Jhumpa Lahiri was trying to express an ideal she cherishes through the biographical anecdote of a man (resembling her father and his story) who comes to America through long and arduous processes. The ideal, and the vein of both the revision and the original essay is that the American dream has been lost, and this character, the narrator, is to revive a model for what it used to be. The difference in the two essays is that in the original, there was less of an analysis of how Jhumpa Lahiri did this in this particular story and more of a critique on the concept of the American idea. In the revision, the rhetorical devices of the author are more thoroughly discussed and then observed through the lens of the American dream. For example, in this segment of text, any allusion to the story is vague if not completely nonexistent:
“In 21st century America, what we ask of the American dream is now utterly different. We seek accolades and financial well being, even at the cost of familiar neglect. We place our hopes on the promise that in America, if something is desire enough it can be had. All the more common now is a want for more of everything, a constant unsatisfied state that leaves most who live in it to wind up wildly unhappy. What was once a pure hope of satisfaction in surviving well and caring for a family has turned into a sprint to hoard ambition, become rich, and avoid disappointing others.”
Compare this now with text from the revised essay:
“It is certain that the narrator’s life is counter the idea of American acquisition of status. He begins his travels in London, where he attends classes at one of the finest economics schools in the world. Craving a job and parched to fulfill his duty as a man — caring for his wife — he does what any sensible American idealist would call insane, drops everything and moves to yet another continent to work at a library. Why would he do this? Why would anyone leave what would obviously turn into a more compensating job to be a librarian? Hence American thought.”
The difference between the two is that the second is focused on the narrator and how the narrator, through the story, can prove an example for the American dream. In the first, whether or not the story is mentioned, or even being discussed is irrelevant. It could have been about how anything represented the American dream, or lack there of it. This mindset continues throughout the entirety of the piece.
The good thing about the revision is that instead of assuming what the story says about materialism, it takes quotes and evidence. In the original, there is only a mention of the narrator and the story. In the second, he is the whole focus. See the difference between the first and second drafts:
“Through the narrator as an example, she tries to help Americans remember a dream that they have awoken and then forgotten. It is a very Biblical thing. Some will hear and adapt, the mass of others will not hear and will not adapt. To those who seek such an ideal, take courage; for whilst life may lack ease, it will never lack joy. And when it is over, it will not be the success garnered or the approval had that will make it a good life, but the relationships formed, the kind acts done, and the family well loved. Yes, man has landed in the heavens, but for those seeking the intrinsic joy of the American dream, the heavens have been found not in the sky, but in the hearts of men.”
“As all the smoke and dust clears from the hot welding of morality and character, Lahiri leaves the story with the only thing left to be said in the argument in favor of the traditional and simple way of life, the classic american dream, the opposition to the status focused, and monetarily driven ideals of the modern day: ‘I am not the only man to seek his fortune far from home, and certainly I am not the first. Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have travelled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.’”
In this essay, the focus was very specific, which I think was a positive. In the original, the focus was mainly dealing with the Jews and concentration camp throughout. In the second essay, I allowed the concentration camp aspect to sit in the back ground instead of being the focus. Other than this, the essay, although short, was poignant.
“The Soup Reich” is an example of a hint that was dropped early on in the essay of the first draft. In the second draft, this is kind of early hint making is removed and replaced with more subtle building of the concentration camp as a punch line.