Monday, April 15, 2013

Authenticity and security

The most important observation made in the latter half of Jasmine is only you can determine your fate and your name.  Throughout the entire novel, Jasmine allowed herself to be called all of these different names by four or five different men.  By the end of the novel, she says “it isn’t guilt I feel, it’s relief.  I realize I have already stopped thinking of myself as me reposition the stars, I whisper to the astrologer who floats cross-legged above my kitchen stove,” (240).  The big take away for me is to determine my own name, not some Americanized inauthentic version of me, but have people call me what I want to be called.  Only in doing that can I determine who I become, regardless of assumptions or prophecies that are handed to me as truth. 
                The most surprising thing I reflected on was probably the innate security that comes with being an American, or at the very least, having a green card to a developed country.  We have talked about the privileges and freedom we have in America, but very rarely do I realize just what that means and how important safety is to me.  I always feel safe at home, at school, at night, and during the day.  If I was ever raped, I could prosecute in a second, rather than having the mental anguish that Jasmine endures in silence.  Her line about “I didn’t feel safe going outdoors.  If I had a green card, a job, a goal, happiness would appear out of the blue” really made me think about the dangers that come with being an undocumented immigrant; once you actually get to the land of the free, you are not actually free because you are living in fear of being caught (149).  This really resonated just with my own definition of home: a sanctuary, a safe place where I can trust people compared to her version of America that is greedy and manipulative.  It also made me reflect on my Project Mexico trip over Christmas break.  We talked to so many people trying to cross the border into America and we got the opposite perspective with the Border Patrol trying to stop immigrants from coming over.  We did not, however, talk to people who are undocumented in America today and what it is like for them now they are in America.  Yes, they have been tempted by the “promise of America,” this land of freedom, but are they really free (240)?  What is their version of America compared to mine?

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