?In spite of a world where the divergence of cultures is getting less in the course of time, clash of cultures still appear. In R. K. Narayan’s story ‘A Horse and Two Goats’ (1970) two persons from paradoxical cultures meet which leads to a massive communication gap exemplifying the inevitable differences between cultures. The story sets in India in a small town called Kiritam, the Tamil word for crown. The village is described as a “tiny dot”(p. 184, l. 2) and almost as an isolated dusty desert(p. 185, l. 45).
The colours in the village are desert-like and the only thing that colours the surroundings is the warrior’s “multicoloured sash”(p. 184, l. 20). Although the town therefore seems quite outlying, the inhabitants are convinced that this “preferably diamond-studded” (p. 184, l. 3) suburb is a part of “the apex of the world. ”(p. 184, l. 5) which according to Muni is due to the statue of the horse and the said warrior: “The Redeemer will come, in the form of a horse called Kalki, (…) and this hors will come to life then, and that is why this is the most sacred village in the whole world”(p.
186, ll. 19-21). The statue becomes a key role in the meeting between the American and Muni. Although it is described as a statue alike numbers of others in India and is covered with plants growing around it, it becomes the center of the queer conversation between Muni and the American. The conversation is clearly influenced by language barriers and furthermore contrasting beliefs, culture, and premises. While Muni is an old Indian man without many possibilities in life the American is an explorer from New York(p. 185, l.
14) compelled by an urge to experience other cultures such as the Indian way of life. Muni seems to be isolated not only from the surrounding world but from the local society too. He is expelled and keeps himself away from the farms because of an accusation of removing the village headman’s pumpkins. Although Muni’s position in society is stuck he dreams about selling his goats to get enough capital to open a small shop(p. 188, ll. 1-4). The dreams and belief in general is Muni’s fixed point in life and devotional tales come in torrents throughout the story.
As a contrast to Muni the American is an all-American traveller with the financial wealth to follow his adventurous dreams about travelling and experiencing other cultures. Unfortunately, the “sunburned and red” American wearing “khaki-coloured shirt and shorts” (p. 184, ll. 31) lacks the ability to interact with Muni and all in all he fails when trying to be interested and exuberant. Eventually things come down to being an attempt of driving a bargain about the statue. His enthusiasm and interest is displayed throughout the dialogue but at the same time the unsuccessful conversation shows a mutual communicative limitation.
The American is consistent and keeps asking Muni about Muni’s knowledge about the America and about the statue although it is obvious that the conversation lacks understanding: “’I have my station wagon, as you see. (…) If you’ll just lend me a hand with it. ’ ‘Do you know Marabatha? Krishna is the eight avatar of Vishnu… ’(pp. 186-187, ll. 44-2). The confusion between the two of them is complete which is underlined several times e. g. when Muni at first thinks the American is a police officer (p. 185, ll. 9-12).
Muni’s state of subordination related to the said situation is a repeated theme in the story. Almost completely naturally, the old man takes position as the lower standing of the two of them; from the first view of the American Muni thinks he is subordinate to him. This conviction is shared by the American which can be seen when looking at how he talks and acts towards Muni; “Encouraged by this, the other went on to explain in length, uttering each syllable with care and deliberation, (…) every now and then pausing to smile affably. ”(p. 185, ll. 32-36).
Although the American knows that Muni does not understand what he is saying, he keeps trying and he even more shows sign of being the superior person in the dialogue. His superiors are also shown by the amount of excess when it comes to paying for the statue. The price is a trivial detail for him and he has the financial and mental exorbitance to pay such a high amount of money that “It’s all for you, or you may share it if you have a partner. ” (p. 188, l. 12). The two characters become representatives of two completely different and contrasting cultures with diverging qualities and values.
While Muni is an old Indian farmer exemplifying a scheme of things centred on dreams, belief and religion, the American’s appearance expresses the typical American conception focalized on a modern and capitalistic way of life. These contrasts lead to a rather humorous dialogue which clarifies how dissociated cultures can be. Even though the differences between the two involved cultures are clear, it is striking that by the time of the publication of the story India had been independent from the British Empire’s for only 23 years after a long period under British rule and influence.
Although there are minor distinctions between Great Britain and the USA it gives food for thought that the clash of cultures can be as evident as in the story of Muni and the American even when the country of India has been influenced by the British Empire. R. K. Narayan’s depiction of the encounter is a down-to-earth humoristic story which pictures an ordinary man as Muni in the process of adapting to the modern world but it also turns up the possibility of questioning if society’s different cultures ever will blend in – or if the uproarious gap between civilizations will continue to prevail as a reminder of the charm of diversity.
“Ziv, that light: Translation and Tradition of Paul Celan” (Felstiner).
“Ziv, that light: Translation and Tradition of Paul Celan” (Felstiner)..
Respond to the following essay noted below an anthologized essay in the texts assigned for this course. You are asked to write a minimum of 300 words per entry and share your response to the ideas presented by the author. “Ziv, that light: Translation and Tradition of Paul Celan” (Felstiner) Please just write about what you understood mostly about the book, what part you liked the best and what was the book about. The reading comes from the book “The Craft of Translation” Edited by Biguenet and Schulte if you could please relate to this book for this assignment that would be great.
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