Sample Essay

Being the main protagonist of the novel, Jasmine is joined in the various stages of her life by the men and women who become a part of her many identities that she acquires during the course of her transformation.  While the story continues to revolve around her, each character introduced in the narrative plays a significant role in her eventual metamorphosis.  However, Bud Ripplemeyer, her wheelchair-bound partner, in Elsa County, Iowa, who is presented as being twice her age and the head of the town’s bank, marks the most profound evolution in her character with her discovery of sexual and emotional emancipation.

She is also joined during this phase by another Asian immigrant, Du, her and Bud’s adopted son from Vietnam, to give another immigrant’s perspective of what it means to become an American.  One can almost see the faint similarities between Jasmine’s and Du’s ongoing transformation when she comments on how Du Thien who could barely speak English at the time of his arrival to America has gone on to become Du Ripplemeyer who now speaks fluent English, however with a permanent accent like Kissinger.  Jasmine herself however declines to become a Ripplemeyer, but her very decision to not do so despite carrying Bud’s child highlights the most important transformation in her character when she begins to realize the many freedoms that her new home offers her with.  (Mukherjee, 13)

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