A Literary Essay Example: When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine

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The story drives from the first-person perspective of Lilia, ten years of age thus mitigating a heavy topic. Mr. Pirzada comes from Dacca, part of Pakistan in the autumn of 1971 leaving behind his wife and seven daughters to study the foliage of New England. We see him coming to Lilias house for dinner each night and to watch news of the Indo-Pakistan war. The writer creates a feeling of sympathy on Mr. Pirzada; emphasis is on the watching news arena. The war broke out after Pakistan army invaded Dacca and torched and destroyed everything leaving it like a shell. In this invasion thousands of people are killed and others tortured and left for the dead. Mr. Pirzada writes a letter to his family weekly, although he has not heard from them for the past six months this shows that he still has connections to his family. He is worried but remains hopeful, he keeps admiring a picture of his seven daughters and his wife. But a question lingers in the mind of the reader, why could he have left his family behind given the turmoil of war that was going on? Was he running away from the war and chaos in their motherland?

The use of Lilia ten years of age, gives the story a greater magnitude as we are made to believe that she does not understand what is happening in Pakistan. She lives with her parents, in the North of Boston near a university. The mention of a university in the area of their residency is made to conquer of the assurance of their safety and security. Her parents have their origin in India, they miss their motherland and seek out for names that relate to theirs in the school's directory, that is how they came across Mr. Pirzada. Lilia sees him as an Indian and calls him so though his father makes her understand that he is no longer Indian. He explains to her how in 1947, after gaining independence from England, India was divided into two. Though Lilia cannot understand any of this, she notes that he speaks the same language, share the same jokes and eats similar food to that of her parents her father struggles to explain that he is not an inferior. Lilia sees him as a stranger; the writer creates an impression that despite her parents having the same background, he is different, we find her referring to him as the Indian man. Her father is not happy and makes her understand that he is not Indian. What was inferior about being Indian? The writer successfully drives as to a point where we see Mr. Pirzada bonding very well with Lilia in a very short period.

At this point, the writer introduces a worried father. We see him also getting concerned over what is happening in Pakistan and more so for the fact that Lilia is not aware. Her mother still is not seen to care much despite having family and relatives back at Pakistan. All that matters to her is the safety and the well-being of her daughter, we see her being happy that her daughter is safe and she has an assurance of access to education and other endless opportunities having been born in the United States. Her father feels that she need to know what is happening in the world. The writer puts a lot of emphasis on her fathers willingness to know and understands what is happening, but her age is still tender to comprehend.

The hospitality that Mr. Pirzada is receiving from his hosts is unquestionable, we see Lilia helping him remove his coat when he arrives from the University he in turn gives her some candy which she stores in sandalwood that belonged to her late grandmother whom she knows not. There is the creation of a sense of responsibility; she does not eat all the candy at once as we would expect from children of the same age. Lilia, her parents and Mr. Pirzada eats in the living room as they watch the television. Lilia watches him carefully after learning that he is not Indian, she still wants to confirm that he is not Indian, it is from this perspective that we can depict that Indians are not as appreciated in America Although he seems comfortable living with this family, he still thinks about home. He takes out a silver watch that is 11 hours ahead of Dacca and this puzzles him; He could have adjusted the watch to match that of the United States of America, but he chooses to go with his homeland timeline. Lilia watches the news broadcast attentively hoping to catch a glimpse of one of his daughters but what she sees are images of clamoring refugees fill the screen. The writer allows us to read through his mind, as much as he is comfortable and happy with his new family he is still thinking about home.

The writer creates a distinction of this particular night. It is different from all the other nights that Mr. Pirzada has spent with them, Lilia eats her candy leaving it to melt on her tongue as she said a prayer for his family the concept of prayer is introduced and thus proving that Lilia and her parents are sacred. She sleeps with sugar in her mouth as she thinks that by washing her mouth she will be washing the prayer she made. Her believe about answers to prayers hangs on the candy in her mouth, she uses what has come from Mr. Pirzada as a reminder. At school we find Lilia reading a book on Pakistan, she chastises about the young girl, instead of reading the book that they were to act on with her friend Dora. The teacher is also impressed by the passion of this ten year old and also chastised by the state of Pakistan at the moment. Reports are censoring, news from Pakistan dwindles(Pike, David, Ana 44) . A recap of what is happening is streaming and a death toll an announcement that disturbs people all along. More villages set ablaze. Despite this, he stays until midnight playing scrabble and joking about the spelling of English words, while on the other side, another nation is being born. The writer wants us to understand that at the moment he has no control of what is happening in his home country, he chooses to stay calm. Could he be psychologically disturbed and may be experiencing sleepless nights?

The writer wants us to know that despite the havoc in Pakistan time is still running fast. Its October, he becomes inquisitive of some pumpkins that he sees on the neighbor's doorstep, the writer wants us to know that he still observes and has kept a track record of the things around him as much as he is disturbed about the war in his homeland where he has left his family behind. Lilia tells him that they are used to scare away people. His stay here revolves around Lilia; she is the most present of her family members to respond to Mr. Pirzadas uncertainties. They are carving a jack-lantern this shows how flexible he is as he can lower down to the likes of Lilia, it is at this point that a TV reporter mentions Dacca, this shows that he can multitask and his concentration is not carried away by carving. It appears that India will go to war with Pakistan; the writer makes a(Pike, David, Ana 11) presumption. Meanwhile, Lilia dresses as a witch for the Halloween play with Dora her friend; the writer introduces the other side of Lilia, the actor. It is the first time that she allowed to trick or treat herself without supervision. He is worried as he thinks that she might be exposed to danger, here the writer shows as that Mr. Pirzada is feeling insecure and is experiencing psychological torment, her mother says that it is an American culture, she seems not to be concerned with what is happening behind the scenes. Dora concern is as to why Mr. Pirzada wanted to go with them. The writer confirms that it is the American custom, Dora also does not understand why the monitoring. Lilia says that it is because her daughters are missing; she regrets her statement and withdraws it, adding that they are in a different country and so he misses them, the writer shows how bright and how fast she can think and correct herself without the mediation of another older person (Pike, David, Ana 52). Lilia arrives home later only to find her jack lantern smashed. The fact that she arrives late, shows that she is maturing and in the real sense can take care of herself as the customs and culture demands.

The writer wants us to understand that Lilias parents are not as worried as Mr. Pirzada and their daughter, Lilia; we see inside the house, her parents are sitting on the couch. Mr. Pirzada seems in distraught as he lays his head in his hands, he is disturbed. U.S.A. has already taken sides and it is in support of West Pakistan, the writer clarifies on which side that the United States of America support, this gives a lot of meaning to West Pakistan given that the USA is a superpower country and almost guarantees them of victory. In the twelve days of the war it was seen as the Soviet Union with India candies (. Wurzburg, Konigshausen, Neumann, 23 ).. A blanket is laid on Mr. Pirzada as he sleeps on the couch, he is not as jovial. Lilias parents call their relatives based in Calcutta for updates and the news they get is disheartening. The writer wants us to know at what point did Lilias parents got to worry, the war had intensified.

The writer informs us that the situation has calm down at Pakistan, Mr. Pirzada flies home in January and what remains of Dacca cannot be explained, the destruction was way beyond what he thought candies (. Wurzburg, Konigshausen, Neumann, 68 ). . The leader's release from the prison makes them free again. They take charge of the nation, finally they gain their independence and a new nation is born, what dominates the young nation is great and severe famine and drought, high levels of unemployment and refugees returning to their home country from India, the writer gives a clear picture of the aftermaths of the civil war. Lilia still remembers Mr. Pirzada and misses him as she gazes at her parents; he was so friendly to be forgotten easily. After some months they receive a letter from Mr. Pirzada to thank the family for their great hospitality. They make a special meal this evening but Lilia has lost appetite as she meditates on how much she misses Mr. Pirzada, the fact that they are celebrating showed us that they truly loved Mr. Pirzada and his wellbeing called for celebration. Since January when Mr. Pirzada left Lilia has been taking a candy every evening as she prayed for his family, she feels that it is no longer important and decides to throw away the remaining candies (. Wurzburg, Konigshausen, Neumann, 52 ). The writer achieves her purpose is throughout the story.

Cultural hybridity is quite evident in this story. Lilia as young as ten years encounters in-between she enjoys the third space of her diaspora relations. She is anxious to learn about India and also the American culture and customs which is a privilege when compared to what her mates in India experience who are severely deprived in their homeland and also when we compare her with the American teenagers she is miles ahead of her counterparts only know of their culture alone (Pike, David, Ana 112). Religious quarrels in India perturb her relatives in India; the lack of these quarrels in America is a remarkable fact for her. Lilia enjoys the advantages of diaspora life thus she is urged to ask inflexible definitions of nations and geographical borderlines that separate people of different nations.

She is delightful and appreciates the fact that her parents and Mr. Pirzada, who are migrating from different countries to the United States of America speaking the same language, eats the same food and shares the same jokes.



Territorial Terrors: Contested Spaces in Colonial and Postcolonial Writing. Wurzburg: Konigshausen & Neumann, 2007. Print.

Pike, David L, and Ana M. Acosta. Literature: A World of Writing: Stories, Poems, Plays, Essays. New York: Pearson, 2012. Print.


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