Mrs. Sen is a short story about an Indian lady named Mrs. Sen and an American boy named Eliot. Mrs. Sen, who spends time engaging with Eliot’s family, understands the difficulty in embracing the world in the novel. Mrs. Sen, as a foreigner, feels out of place, living an unusual lifestyle with odd people. She misses the old world, customs, and native forms of life, which were diametrically opposed to the current one. As a result, she has not yet adapted to her new environment, which causes her to be uncomfortable with certain facets of life in a foreign country, reflecting her cultural alienation (Salinas 36). The story is a vivid illustration of how some people are not able to adapt to the formalities of a foreign country. Mrs. Sen’s character has been used to show the distinction between the two cultures (Wong 1). Given the style of dressing Eliot sees when he first meets Mrs. Sen, he wonders if a Sari would be appropriate for the cold weather. Eliot asks if Mrs. Sen feels comfortable with such dressing code.
The woman also complains of the driving rules in the new country and finds them difficult. Mrs. Sen invites Eliot to accompany her since she is afraid of being the only person while driving (Akbari, Ahdieh & Mahrokh 23). Although Mrs. Sen is taking classes, she is still reluctant in practicing on busy roads due to her unfamiliarity with the instructions.
Mrs. Sen is always welcoming and hospitable which is contrary to the culture in the foreign country she inhabits. Occasionally, she takes it upon herself to ensure that her guests, for instance, Eliot’s mother, always get something to eat while visiting. On the other hand, Eliot’s neighbors host a party but fail to invite them. Furthermore, Mrs. Sen mentions that people in Calcutta, where she originates from, are very hospitable and friendly as opposed to the Americans. This stands to show the level of hospitality between given two societies that make her life in the United States uncomfortable (Shah 11).
On looking further into Mr. and Mrs. Sen lives, one would realize that they missed living with other family members. Mrs. Sen illustrates to Eliot the value of a family. Additionally, she shows a deep affection for her relatives (Salinas 35). It seems that she wishes she were in India with her family rather than living in this lonely place. Moreover, there are two particular things that make her happy. One of them is a fresh fish from the lakeside while the second one is her family. Both of them remind a woman of the happy life she led back in Calcutta. The correspondence from home brought happiness in the life of Mrs. Sen. Importance of family is further noticed when she listens to a cassette that was her farewell gift when she traveled abroad.
Indeed, Mrs. Sen does not view her foreign country as a home, but as a place of anguish. She lacks the will to exist in this foreign culture. Throughout the story, we get to see from Eliot’s perspective, the disconnection of Mrs. Sen from her surroundings. It is evident that she has been alienated from the culture of the country she lives in. The whole story is an illustration of how Mrs. Sen is unable to adapt to the new culture completely. It is evident that she is not responding positively to her new life in the foreign conditions. This makes it very hard for her to lead a comfortable life that brings happiness to one’s existence.
Works Cited
Akbari, Ahdieh, & Mahrokh Alipanahlou. “Eastern Women in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Treatment of Bibi Haldar, Mrs. Sen’s, and A Real Durwan.” The Journal, no. 14, 2015.
Salinas, Julieta. Towards the building of a hybrid identity: an analysis of Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Mrs. Sen’s. BS thesis, 2014.
Shah, Krupa N. “Cultural Alienation and Displacement in Jhumpa Lahari’s Mrs. Sen.” South Asia Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, no. 3.4, 2017.
Wong, Tin Kei. “Empowering Asian-American Women through Nostalgia: Power of Female Protagonists in Jasmine, Mrs. Sen’s and Seventeen Syllables.” International Journal of Social Science and Humanity, no. 5.12, 2015, p. 1072.

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