I found “Jasmine” to be a fascinating novel, and I like how Mukherjee shows Jasmine changing her own identity throughout the novel. I found that I was putting myself in Jasmine’s shoes as I read to think more deeply about how I would feel living in her constantly changing world. One of the most shocking events that I found was the prediction that the astrologer made when Jasmine was a young girl. Having your future told to you and predicted before you have even lived it out would scare me because I feel like I would constantly be referring back to what was said to see if the prophecy came true. Since her future was told so early in her life, Jasmine was put in a position where it seemed like her entire destiny was laid out for her, and she had no option to take control over her life. Even though Jasmine ends up as a widow, I like how Jasmine tries to have power over what will happen to her with her changing and movements. I respected her character because she defies what others tell her will happen and does things for herself and takes initiative, which is difficult to do sometimes.
I think that Jasmine’s name changes are one of the most significant parts of her that alters because a person’s name is the first thing that many people identify with. By continuously changing her name, her entire self transforms. Since names are so important for every person to have and be associated with, I think it is extremely noteworthy that Mukherjee chooses this as what changes for Jasmine. Mukherjee shows readers that it is possible to change if you have the urge to alter a predestined path, which is an important theme we see throughout the novel.
We also see Jasmine changing her home, going from one hemisphere to the other and traveling through many cities experiencing a multitude of things. We have not discussed characters living in the Western hemisphere in depth before, so it is interesting how Mukherjee depicts Jasmine’s life from India all the way to America. I found her movement extremely interesting because it was as if she tried to make a home in each of the cities she lives in, but she did not find a place that had that permanent stamp on her heart that she felt comfortable and herself in. Often times, people have a great affect on us, and they help shape our homelands and allow us discover something important within our lives. This happened for Jasmine as she moved and changed. I have found that in each of the novels we read, it is important to define your home in your own way. Jasmine had many things change in her life, which made her the person she was at the end of the novel. The people in her life, the places she lived, and her name changes all gave Jasmine the freedom to become the woman she wanted, which is a wonderful gift that all humans have.
The most important and interesting thing that I learned this semester is how you can find and create home wherever you choose as long as you feel comfortable and believe that you have the ability to be the best person you can be. The definition of home is not always clear and straightforward. It may not be where you were born or where you came from, but can become a place you travel or move to. Before this class, the only idea of home that I thought of was my birthplace, but after this semester, I realize how the concept of home can change in different situations. It is up to the individual to change their perspective or how they want to live their life. In each of the texts we read, we saw several different variations of home, and how the characters in each story take it upon themselves to create a home wherever they are. We saw some characters struggle at points, but overall, many lived their lives so that they made the most of it and could look back and remember the place they called home. Everything we read this semester was able to connect back to home and creating it wherever you may be, and I found that every text brought something new to the definition of home. I loved this class and learned a great deal about how different authors have the ability to portray the same word, home, in a multitude of ways.