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Fatherland by Kiran Desai Critical Analysis Essay

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In her essay, Kiran Desai explains two settings in detail, and this contributes to the larger point she was talking about i.e. immigration and its relation to homeland. The author uses her maternal home in Delhi as the first setting, and the other setting is in America. This paper will discuss the two settings as described by Kiran Desai in detail and how he uses description and detail to make big, the point she was talking about immigrants.


In Delhi, Kiran Desai describes the place as the origin of the perfect immigrants. This is depicted by Kiran Desai’s father when he learns that his child got a visa to go abroad. The author describes the place as one whereby the parents are aging alone because all children went abroad. The father also describes the Indian homes as places where the parents would sit back and summon the soothing melancholic tides with whiskey that was brought back by the perfect immigrants. The parents would take the whiskey with the feeling of being left alone by their kids (Kiran, 2011). He gives a picture of Delhi as a place whose population is made up of an aging population.

In the foreign land, Desai describes Indians as people who were losing their culture slowly. Kiran Desai’s father goes ahead and explains that when he was young, they used to await the Indian Americans, some of whom had transformed into hippies while others metamorphosed to Republicans instead of being considered Indians (Kiran, 2011). The emigrants are said to have bought carpets and cashmere and dishes that would revive the almost forgotten recipes of nawabs. These Indian Americans would then reimburse Kiran’s father a few dollars which would allow him to travel or eat in America. The latter shows that sometimes, immigrants live in utmost poverty.

Kiran also reveals her father’s experience in America when he experienced a mounting dread of the revenge visit. He explains that in the United States, the Indians were coming to reclaim their pride. They (the Indians) would dry their pants on the bushes, and when they were told that they were breaking the rules, they would then pooh-pooh the American freedom. The writer reveals a form of discrimination when she says that the grandchildren were morons greater than the children of the Delhi maid. They would reveal that they were discriminated against and shown that they did not belong when they asked, “how many American friends do you have (Kiran, 2011)?” The Korean American, Jewish, or Hispanic friends were many, but the native American friends were very few. The latter was meant to point out that they still didn’t belong.

Kiran Desai also describes the problems that the emigrants go through in America by saying that when she was in her twenties and thirties, while writing her first novel, she rented a series of minute rooms within the jigsaws of shared apartments. The writer says that she lived out of two suitcases and spend the entire day reading a wooden platform bed she had found abandoned in the streets. Kiran’s father is also to have been surprised by the low quality shown by immigrants, with the whole world to choose from, and wondered what would happen if the lot took over (Kiran, 2011).


As discussed, there are different instances whereby Kiran Desai has used detail and description, and this contributes to a larger point or points that she is making about immigration and the relation to her homeland. The author reveals that the immigrants go through many challenges, and also their parents are left with nobody to take care of them back at home. The essay is educative on what reality to expect when persons go to stay in foreign countries.


Kiran, D., 2011. Fatherland. The New Yoker, 1(1), p. 1.

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