When I first started reading Rushdie’s “East, West”, I honestly didn’t understand what I was supposed to get out of the stories because they all seem to say something else that didn’t make up a medley, as we spoke about a few classes back. When I actually put thought into what the stories meant and what the characters symbolized, it made me realized how brilliantly written the stories were. The story that resonated the most to me was “Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies”. I guess it was because one of the main characters was a young lady who was just trying to figure out the world, in her own way, by herself, and I that’s something that I’m doing, or trying to do at this very moment. It seems like there are many of my family members who already have my life planned out for me, because they think they know me and they are not afraid to proclaim what their plans are.
At the end of the story, Muhammad Ali seemed more devastated at the end when Rehana didn’t end up getting the passport to England. He, along with other people in the country assumed that a young woman would want and should want to uproot everything that she had in India to go England because there was a man waiting for her. I also think that by having Ali narrate the story, we gain so much more than if Rehana were to narrate it. We get to see how much they (the people of India, represented by Ali) expected out of a young lady.
However, Rehana ends up overturning those assumptions and actually uses the advice that she was given by Ali to bomb her interview and get denied the passport. Ali couldn’t seem to grasp why a young woman would want to stay in India and I think that says a lot about the society that she was in. I guess the moral of the story was to not assume. It sounds like such a simple task and we learn it from we are very young, “don’t judge a book by its cover”! However, it’s almost as if it’s second nature to see something and automatically assume and judge that thing without even getting to know that person, or thing, or whatever it is.
I think this is what most of these authors have been trying to do with the works that we have read so far. We have in Hau’ofa, the overcoming of assumptions that traditional medicine and modern medicine had about each other. In the end, they both ended up working together to help Oilei take care of his problem. In “Potiki” when the father lost his job, other characters assumed that the family was going to become destitute and he was thinking quite the opposite. Now he had time to actually look after the land and live off of it like they are supposed to. Most of novels/essays have been tools for us to use to overturn certain assumptions that we may have had before reading them.