Daniel Schönbauer (ed.)

Postcolonial Indian Experiences, page 170 - 256

Teaching the Faces of a Rising Nation

1. Edition 2020, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4293-9, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-7205-9,

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
Part C INDIA AS A GLOBAL COMMUNITY: DIASPORIC EXPERIENCES 171 'America, exile and loneliness' – Reading and Teaching First Generation Indian Diasporic Experiences in Lahiri’s short story “Mrs. Sen’s” Alexander Gaiselmann 1 Introduction In 2015, 2.4 million Indian immigrants lived in the United States. Consequently, they have ascended to the second-largest immigrant group after Mexicans (cf. Zong/Batalova 2017). Additionally, from 1980 to 2010, the population grew more than eleven-fold, roughly doubling every decade. This striking development has led to an increasing interest in Indian American diaspora; both first generation and second generation experiences have become highly relevant to postcolonial literary studies today (Joshi 2004: 83). In contrast to other kinds of diasporic movement, e.g. the Jewish diaspora, which is commonly forcible (cf. Ashcroft et al. 2013: 81), the Indian diasporic movement to the U.S., known as brain drain , is voluntary and mostly individual in nature (cf. Jayaram 2004: 21). Indian diaspora is often associated with the professionally successful Indian migrant who is well-integrated in the Western society (cf. Lindner 2010: 70) as a consequence of high academic skills; this image seems to be confirmed statistically. Indian diasporic literature, however, reveals the downside and the difficulties of global movement that particularly Indian women have to cope with. What kind of cultural envi- 1 Ashcroft 2013:45. 2 Emigration of professionals and semi-professionals to industrialized countries (cf. Jayaram 2004: 21) 172 ronment do these women find themselves in after accompanying their husbands to the United States of America? Generally speaking, diasporic literature refers to the struggle of being torn between residence and transit. As Alam (2013: 247) highlights, “diasporic Indians […] live as outsiders in their adopted lands, unable or unwilling to adapt in the country that they have moved to, but doggedly staying on there instead of returning to their homelands” followed by their everlasting search for the ‘true’ homeland. Referring to Sharma (cf. 2004: 48f.), there is evidence that diasporic Indians, particularly first-generation immigrants, strongly stick to their cultural identity, e.g. Indian food and clothing have a particular sentimental value for them. Consequently, the significance of cultural identity for first-generation Indians abroad needs further examination. What does the integration of first-generation Indian immigrants into the dominant American culture mean for their identities? This issue of struggling between integrating into the American society and retaining one’s own culture will be addressed by this academic work focusing on Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story “Mrs. Sen’s”. Jhumpa Lahiri frequently concerns herself with immigrant identity formation and is regarded as “cultural mediator of Indians in exile (…) probing the in-between spaces of both American and Indian culture” (Volkmann 2008: 18). As the daughter of Bengali Indian immigrants in USA, she does not only have the difficult role of a second generation immigrant, but also gives voice to the problems her parents have had to cope with, i.e. positioning themselves in between the homeland (India) and the diasporic surrounding (USA). Her collection of short stories Interpreter of Maladies that she has won the Pulitzer Prize 2000 in Fiction for deals with the difficulties of living in the American ‘exile’ and finding one’s own place in the new American world from both a first and a second-generation’s perspective. Her short story “Mrs. Sen’s” is about an Indian woman who takes care of an American boy called Eliot. As a first-generation immigrant, she is permanently searching for her identity in her new home but is unable to get accustomed to the American values and norms. Consequently, she escapes into her traditional pattern of cooking and clothing to avoid the process of cultural assimilation. Regular intercultural confrontations give her the feeling of alienation, reinforce her strong feelings towards her hometown Calcutta and intensify her loneliness. Daily, she notices herself to be ‘other’ than American citizens, mostly represented by Eliot’s mum. 173 In the following part of the term paper, the postcolonial key concepts relevant to the question of finding one’s own identity in a new place are examined in Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story “Mrs. Sen’s”. Afterwards, the chances and challenges for the EFL classroom are highlighted as well as activities to foster textual understanding, intercultural learning and Fremdverstehen. As a last step, the conclusion summarizes the most important results and indicates their significance for the current discourse. 2 Postcolonial Key Concepts Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Mrs Sen’s” The short story “Mrs Sen’s” by Jhumpa Lahiri refers back to different postcolonial key concepts closely intertwined with the question of finding one’s own identity as a first-generation immigrant in a foreign country. 2.1 Diaspora’ At first, there is a strong focus on ‘Diaspora’ which is “the voluntary or forcible movement of peoples from their homelands into new regions” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 81). The Bengali family emigrated from Calcutta to the United States apparently due to professional interests. In contrast to the majority of Indian migrants to other countries, they voluntarily choose to live in America, clearly visible because there are no hints at fleeing from war, poverty or religious persecution, at least there is no hint at one of these reasons given throughout the short story. Closely related to the brain drain mentioned above, Mr. Sen works as a professor, which enables him to be well-integrated into the American society. Meanwhile, his wife sticks to the Indian traditional patterns in terms of clothing, cooking and her role as a subordinate wife. “’No more fish for a while. Cook the chicken in the freezer’” (Lahiri 1999: 124). Accordingly, Mrs. Sen cannot but also does not want to benefit from American values and lifestyle that are most often the reason for Indian migrants to move to America, e.g. freedom, selfdetermination and economic prosperity (ref.). However, the only aspect of American culture she is willing to accept is the English language. “They always spoke to each other in English when Eliot was present” (ibid.: 126). According to Ashcroft et al. (cf. 2002: 217f.), ‘Diaspora’ is more than a geographical dispersal but also deals with the issues of home, 174 exile, and identity that are strongly linked to the Indian diaspora abroad. 2.2 'Homeland’ and ‘exile’ Mrs. Sen’s strong emotional connection to her homeland, which can be regarded as a central notion of ‘Diaspora’, is foregrounded throughout the story. “’And that’s all …in India?’ ‘Yes,’ Mrs. Sen replied. The mention of the word seemed to release something in her.” (Lahiri 1999: 113). Her emotional attachment to her family in India and her sentimental connection to Indian food are recognizable to Eliot, which he describes as the “two things […][that] made Mrs. Sen happy” (ibid: 121). Generally speaking, her strong link to food, rituals, and clothing shows that her present situation is just seen as a “stage in transit, a provisional abode before returning to the true homeland” (Döring 2011: 30f.). This idea of collision of two ‘homes’, the one somebody is living in and the one somebody actually feels home, is highly exemplified by Mrs. Sen. “By then Eliot understood that when Mrs. Sen said home, she meant India, not the apartment where she sat chopping vegetables” (Lahiri 1999: 116). However, Cohen (cf. 2009: 9f.) states that ‘Home’ is a fuzzy term referring back to Brah who said that homeland is more associated with a homing desire than with a specific place. Mrs. Sen permanently seeks for going back to India because “everything is there” (Lahiri 1999: 113). The use of the word ‘everything’ in this context implies that what Mrs. Sen had to leave behind in India goes beyond the loss of material belongings and amenities. Her residence in America is turned into ‘Exile’ that “involves the idea of separation and distancing from either a literal homeland or from a cultural and ethnic origin” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 108). As Saha (cf. 2009: 187) summarizes, ‘Exile’ is interchangeable with selfalienation and arouses a feeling of loneliness and being an outsider. “It was never a special occasion, nor was she ever expecting company. It was merely dinner for herself and Mr. Sen” (Lahiri 1999: 117). The lack of reference persons in her new and foreign environment evokes a feeling of being foreign in the present home that She tries to escape from in her imagination. “Though she stood plainly before him, Eliot had the sensation that Mrs. Sen was no longer present in the room with the pear-colored carpet” (Lahiri 1999: 122). In Cohen’s words (cf. 2009: 6), most immigrants can and are never fully accepted in their host societies they feel excluded and alienated 175 from. As a consequence of that, from the first day onwards, the majority plan their return because there is a crucial relationship of the diasporic group to its homeland for which they feel a strong sense of belonging. Thus, throughout the short story, Mrs. Sen can be regarded as one of the “pathetic and seemingly lost souls” that Alam regards as characteristic for “first- generation Indian immigrants” (Alam 2013: 247) who develop a self-perception of being ‘other’ in a foreign land. 2.3 ‘Othering’ and ‘(Non-)Assimilation’ To define the identity of the subject, there is need of understanding the ‘other’ that is “anyone who is separate from one’s self” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 186f.). In the short story, Mrs. Sen’s identity is primarily characterized by the American boy Eliot she takes care of in the afternoons. His visual description of Mrs. Sen’s outer appearance underlines his comparative analysis of both cultures. Mrs. Sen “wore a shimmering white sari patterned with orange paisleys […] yet it was his mother […] in her cuffed, beige shorts and her rope-soled shoes” (ibid.: 112). Accordingly, Eliot “is used as a focalizer to juxtapose bland and uniform American culture with the exotic, slightly enigmatic but extremely exciting cultural experience of being exposed to the strange habits of an Asian ‘housewife’” (Volkmann 2008: 30). From a critical point of view, he is eager to find out more about Indian culture, which is different from American culture in various aspects like food, clothing and family structure. Eliot “enjoyed watching Mrs. Sen as she chopped things, seated on newspapers on the living room floor” (Lahiri 1999: 114). To spot the cultural differences between American and Indian culture, Eliot compares Mrs. Sen with his mother who might be seen as a representative of U.S. culture being a self-centered single mum focused on her career and her freedom. Taking these characteristics into account, she can be characterized as Mrs. Sen’s counterpart who loves cooking, raising children and sticks to a patriarchal system in which she has to restrain her own wishes and desires to satisfy her husband (cf. Lindner 2010: 65). The attribution of the ‘other’ appears to be controversial. From Eliot’s mum’s perspective, Mrs. Sen is seen as the ‘other’ who is not willing to assimilate to American values whereas her son Eliot states that his mother is the person “who looked odd” and is not open to Indian culture and food (Lahiri 1999: 112). Therefore, it can be suggested that Eliot seems to become accustomed to the Indian culture and increasingly doubts his own culture. 176 In the course of the story, critical incidents show the ‘othering’ “refer[ing] to the social and/or psychological ways in which one group excludes or marginalizes another group” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 188). In these situations, the contrast between the American and Indian culture is obviously exposed. These cultural encounters give Mrs. Sen the feeling of being other, discriminated and in most cases not welcomed. For instance, the bus driver is appalled by the smell of the fish that Mrs. Sen bought and asks Eliot to open a window (cf. Lahiri 1999: 133). This scene can be interpreted as expressing clear disapproval by the American society towards Mrs. Sen’s culture because the fish can be regarded as an important symbol of Mrs. Sen’s cultural roots (cf. ibid. 121, 123). By addressing Eliot and asking him to open the window for Mrs. Sen, the driver also denies her agency and doubts her language skills, which is an additional sign of ‘othering’ her (cf. ibid. 133). According to Döring (2011: 31f.), the experience of ‘otherness’, linked with conditions “where the sense of self is challenged”, is fundamental for personality development. Against these difficulties, she has to form her identity, which is, however, characterized by the lack of assimilation into the host country. The strong connection to her origin is typical of first-generation immigrants. There are several examples mentioned: She continuously prepares Indian food and wears saris. In the end, she refuses to learn how to drive although it carries a certain importance for western culture and is necessary to break out of the Indian patriarchal structures and traditional patterns. It does not only offer mobility, and in this way, also independence and freedom, which signify American values but is also needed to survive there. Taking these issues into account, her unsuccessful attempt to improve her driving skills followed by the accident might be interpreted as her failure of assimilation. Based on this, the example of Mrs. Sen differs from the presentation of diasporic identity “as a positive affirmation of their hybridity” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 83). Mrs. Sen, however, is not presented as a hybrid person but is portrayed as a fixed character that purely sticks to her origin culture and fails to adapt to the American culture. As Sharma (2004: 50) states, her case is not a single one because her persistence of non-assimilation is exemplary for first-generation immigrants. She prevents herself from being absorbed into American culture by rejecting his husband’s appeal to take driving lessons and stop buying fish that strongly connects her with her homeland and has significant value in Bengali culture. “She added that in Calcutta people ate fish 177 first thing in the morning, last thing before bed, as a snack after school if they were lucky” (Lahiri 1999: 123). To conclude, Mrs. Sen’s diasporic experience is marked by the notions of a strong longing for the homeland, which defines her identity as clearly oriented towards her Indian roots unable to embrace her new cultural surrounding (USA). After dealing with postcolonial key concepts that can be found in “Mrs. Sen’s”, it will be discussed further how Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story, on the one hand, might be useful to foster Fremdverstehen and facilitate intercultural learning, but on the other hand, poses a risk of confirming prejudices against American and Indian culture. 3 Analysis from the Point of View of Teaching English as a Foreign Language This chapter looks at the short story analyzed above from a teaching perspective. Based on the works by Lindner (2010), Wandel (2013), Lütge (2012), Nünning/ Surkamp (2014), Volkmann (2008/2010), Ahrens (2012) and Bredella (2012), it discusses chances and challenges of dealing with “Mrs. Sen’s” in the EFL classroom. 3.1 Chances Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story “Mrs. Sen’s” has a great potential for dealing with the issue of finding one’s own identity in a new place. Identity formation is something relevant to all students, particularly to adolescents and upper secondary level students who face the challenge of growing up and defining one’s own role in society and develop their personality in this phase of life to a great extent. Apart from this, global migration is highly present and the feeling of being torn between two cultures is experienced by many students. The cultural life in their families frequently differs from the culture they experience in their diasporic environment where they need to adapt to western culture. Even if children do not face this everyday challenge themselves, they can observe this difficulty amongst their circle of friends and acquaintances. Therefore, this issue of ensuring a balance between family tradition and societal demands is highly relevant to all students. Generally speaking, by focusing on Mrs. Sen’s struggle to balance both worlds, learners get the chance to “participate in recent debates about identity formation in the age of globalization […] [taking] their own cultural images, clichés and stereotypes – even 178 prejudices- as non-members of both nations or cultures” (Volkmann 2008: 19). Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Mrs. Sen’s” explicitly describes the collision of Indian and American cultures by juxtaposing Mrs. Sen and Eliot’s mother’s behavior, appearance, and interests, contrasted by Eliot who embodies an open-minded view of different cultures. Through his eyes, the reader is able to observe a large number of cultural encounters presented in the course of the story that can function as “model situations of cross-cultural (mis-)understanding, which can serve as lessons to gain intercultural competence” (Volkmann 2008: 20). They do not only hint at difficulties that may occur while searching for one’s own identity in a new place but also encourage learners to think critically about the protagonist’s behavior. Consequently, it fosters their ability to empathize and give a professional opinion. Critical incidents and intercultural confrontations attract the learners’ attention to the cultural discrepancies in the individual perception, thinking, valuing and acting (cf. Volkmann 2010: 181) and familiarize them with the feeling of ‘otherness’. The reader can observe Mrs. Sen’s rejection by members of the American society, for example when the passengers in a bus complain about the smell of Mrs. Sen’s bag, in which she carries a fish she bought from the fish market. (cf. Lahiri 1999: 133). ‘Otherness’ is substantial for intercultural learning because “students of another culture are asked to acquaint themselves with the conditions of life in another country” (Ahrens 2012: 186). Mrs. Sen’s failure to adapt to American culture, e.g. when she causes the accident, leaves room for discussion about the necessary conditions of successful integration in a new country that could also be transferred into the German context. Students might think about what is expected from ‘foreigners’ to be integrated into German society and which difficulties these immigrants have to face with. Furthermore, the short story is characterized by multiperspectivity because it deals with the culturally different characters Mrs. Sen and the other American protagonists. As Nünning and Surkamp (cf. 2014: 40) highlight, multiperspective texts ask the learner to cope with competing views. Eliot’s contrastive analysis of the Indian and American culture facilitates Fremdverstehen referring to adopting, changing and coordinating perspectives, which is essential for intercultural learning. Therefore, the reader experiences Mrs. Sen’s ‘otherness’ through Eliot’s perspective, which he/she easily takes over. Eliot himself serves as a role model of an intercultural learner the students are encouraged to 179 become. As a consequence, working with the text fosters “the ability of personal involvement with other people, the ability to change one’s perspective, the ability to reflect emotions, the ability to patiently analyze emotions” (Lütge 2012: 195). By putting themselves in a specific character’s situation, they learn how to adapt to another person’s norms and values and they can critically evaluate what behavior they accept or disapprove (cf. Bredella 2012: 15ff.). Apart from the short story’s potential to foster Fremdverstehen, “Mrs. Sen’s” is appropriate to the level of proficiency expected in the Oberstufe. Talking about the lexical and syntactical elements of the story, it has to be mentioned that it follows a chronological order and requires vocabulary the learners have acquired to a great extent, which facilitates reading and presupposes only little scaffolding. Additionally, there are hardly any Indian words used which would need further explanation. As a typical feature of short stories, the open ending offers scope for interpretation about what will happen to Mrs. Sen. Consequently, creative post-reading tasks are favored as it can be seen in the Teaching Activities. 3.2 Challenges Even though the chances mentioned above encourage the use of “Mrs. Sen’s” in the EFL classroom, several challenges have to be taken into consideration. Firstly, the focus on such a global issue, i.e. Indian diaspora to America, requires enough background knowledge and contextual information (e.g. reasons for diasporic movement and its historical development) to reduce the danger of superficial consideration followed by undesirable leveling of cultural differences (cf. Volkmann 2010: 194) presented in the short story, e.g. subordination of women in Indian marriages and sentimental value of clothing and food. It has to be taken into consideration that the American culture is depicted in a highly stereotypical way, in terms of food, parenting and the necessity of cars. The negative and mainly one-sided presentation of a hostile and naïve American host culture enforced by Mrs. Sen’s frustrating experiences might result in prejudices against the “American society” forgetting the fact that it is diverse, multi- and transcultural. 3 The term “transcultural” considers the mutually transforming power of cultures which influence each other. Thus, it overcomes the different dichotomies, e.g. the native and the (im)migrant or the colonizer and the colonized, presented in postcolonial literary works (Dagnino 2013: 2f.). 180 Throughout the short story, both representatives overstate their culture, either in terms of independence and self-determination (Eliot’s mum) or oppression and dependence (Mrs. Sen) representing both extremes. The traditional patriarchal patterns practiced by Mr. and Mrs. Sen might lead to an overgeneralization of conservative norms and values in Indian culture, in which discrimination of women is still an issue (cf. Lindner 2010: 59) but not a pervasive phenomenon. The students might regard the gender role Mrs. Sen plays in the short story as universally applicable to all Indian women. Accordingly, reading “Mrs. Sen’s” may promote viewing the Indian culture as a fixed entity closely linked with certain characteristics although it should rather “be perceived as [a culture] in flux” (Volkmann 2008: 21). To prevent this from happening, the learners need to consider that Lahiri’s short story only displays a small section from the diversity of Indian culture. Furthermore, “Mrs. Sen’s” is too long to be fully discussed in class. Therefore, it needs to be shortened and reduced to the essential passages (see Teaching Material) that focus on critical incidents which make the learner get involved in the challenges of intercultural encounters followed by critical thinking about these situations. To conclude, Lahiri’s short story contributes to foster intercultural communicative competence as promoted by the curriculum. By contrasting American and Indian ways of life and changing perspective, students might enhance their Fremdverstehen and engage as intercultural learners Eliot might serve as a role model for. They do not only identify and interpret the cultural images presented to them but also learn how to analyze their effect critically. To avoid any further binary and colonial views, the teacher has to point out that the short story presents stereotypes and clichés of the respective cultures the students are supposed to have a critical look at. 4 Teaching Activities After having discussed the chances and challenges of “Mrs. Sen’s” in the EFL classroom, it will be explained what pre-, while- and postactivities are useful to foster the learner’s Fremdverstehen while working with the short story “Mrs. Sen’s”. To create a connection with the previous lesson on Indian culture and to facilitate the process of comparing both cultures, the prereading activity, which responds to visual learning, asks the students to match different pictures of food, clothing and cultural artefacts to the respective culture that should help the learners to become acquainted 181 with the differences between both cultures. With regard to these, the learners should come up with difficulties and cultural differences firstgeneration Indian immigrants in America might have to cope with. As a popular technique of increasing the students’ willingness to participate in class brainstorming both activates the learners and encourages them to become more innovative by generating new ideas (Khan 2013: 12880f.). Later, the students can compare their challenges imagined with the difficulties presented in “Mrs. Sen’s”. As already mentioned in the analysis from the point of view of TEFL, the short story “Mrs. Sen’s” is too long to be dealt with in a single or even a double lesson. Thus, it has to be shortened and divided into the most important paragraphs dealing with certain critical incidents the students can discuss about. The class is divided into five groups of which each works on a specific extract (see Teaching Material). To facilitate the understanding of their passage, learners are supposed to summarize the cultural incident and explain how Mrs. Sen’s culture can be regarded as ‘other’ compared to the American one in the given situation. In the sense of cooperative learning (Think-Pair- Share), the activity is structured as follows: At first, the learners should work individually on their extract summarizing the cultural incident. After that, they exchange their textual understanding with a partner and solve open questions. Finally, they present the situation of their intercultural conflict in class. These results must be captured on the board because the students need to draw on them in order to perform well in the post-reading activity. The while-reading activity allows for Binnendifferenzierung because the paragraphs vary in length and their degree of difficulty. Scaffolding in terms of unknown vocabulary is provided on the task sheet. As post-reading activities, the students might choose between two creative tasks in which they are asked to engage with the role of Mrs. Sen in different ways. As the first option, the learners are asked to write a diary entry by Mrs. Sen, in which she explains her difficulties in adapting to her new life in America. As a basis for this, they can refer to the critical incidents they have examined in the while-reading phase. The students are asked to identify with Mrs. Sen and change to her perspective on an emotional level. By doing so, they do not only go beyond the text but also experience the feeling of ‘otherness’ as a consequence of migration and can think of how to deal with it. A creative alternative could be to re-write the ending of the story in which Mrs. Sen finally 182 succeeds to assimilate to the American culture, which is less text-based but more imaginative. This task is linked to the process of cultural adaptation to overcome the feeling of ‘otherness’. The learners are concerned with the problem of being torn between two cultures, a feeling most immigrants have to face, which they try to solve. In this situation they have to bring balance to their culture of origin and their ‘new culture’, a situation numerous learners have already experienced themselves. Both creative tasks draw attention to the problem-based approach in which they scrutinize the social reality of global migration that will surely affect the learners because a certain number of them will be asked to work and live abroad in the future. To enable the students to perform well in these tasks, scaffolding is needed in the form of set phrases and information about how to write a diary entry or an alternate ending of a story. After having finished the post-reading activity, the students might read the ‘real ending’ of the story to get an example of unsuccessful cultural assimilation illustrated by Mrs. Sen’s car accident. As a homework, students may be asked to compare Mrs. Sen’s experiences as a first generation Indian woman in America to those migrants in Germany might gain pointing out challenges and difficulties they have to cope with, e.g. lack of language skills, unemployment, legal complications, and despair. Consequently, the students understand the importance of the issue of moving to a new place and notice the relevance of the short story to their everyday life. Finding answers to the ever-present issue of feeling isolated in a foreign land, they come up with necessities of successful integration. In reference to Nünning and Surkamp (2014: 138), this transfer might lead to cross-cultural sensitization and serve as a preparation for learners to face challenges set by their living environment, today and in future. Pre-Reading Activity While-Reading Activity Post-Reading- Activity Operationalisierte Aufgabenstellung Describe the pictures of food, clothes, cultural arti-facts and match them with their respective culture (American and/or 1. Summarize the cultural incident presented in your extract. 2. Explain how Mrs. Sen’s cul- 1. Write a diary entry by Mrs. Sen in which she explains her difficulties in adapting to her new life in 183 Indian). ture can be regarded as “other” to the American one. 3. Present your results to your partners who have worked on other extracts. America. OR 2. Re-write the ending of the story in which Mrs. Sen finally succeeds to ‘assimilate’ to the American culture. Material/Medium different pictures of food, clothing, and artifacts respectively for the American and/or Indian culture different extracts of “Mrs. Sen’s” (see Teaching Material) “Mrs. Sen’s” Sozialform Single Work Think-Pair-Share Single Work Didaktisch- Methodischer Kommentar Students become acquainted with the differences between both cultures and come up with cultural differences Indian immigrants to America have to cope with Binnendifferenzierung is possible because the paragraphs vary in length and their degree of difficulty - Scaffolding in terms of unknown vocabulary is provided on the task sheet. students are asked to identify with Mrs. Sen and change to her perspective on an emotional level -scaffolding is needed (= set phrases and information about how to write a diary entry or an alternate ending of a story 5 Conclusion Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story “Mrs. Sen’s” exemplifies the negative diasporic experience of a first-generation Indian immigrant in the U.S. whose feeling of alienation leads to non-assimilation. Whereas other short stories written by Jhumpa Lahiri describe the intercultural meeting as a culturally enriching experience, the short story “Mrs. Sen’s” 184 presents the juxtaposition of Indian and American culture as tense characterized by the sense of loss and cultural displacement (cf. Volkmann 2008: 23). Through the eyes of the 11-year old American protagonist Eliot, learners experience both worlds and the difficulties that immigrants have to deal with in terms of identity, space, and home that are closely linked to living in transit. Consequently, the short story addresses the idea of ‘Exile’, which has become increasingly relevant in postcolonial literature due to the growing number of diasporic peoples worldwide (cf. Ashcroft et al. 2013: 109). Mrs. Sen’s persistence of maintaining her own culture problematizes the idea of ‘Hybridity’ as a natural consequence of diasporic movement and contradicts the equation of diasporic identity and a positive affirmation of hybridity (cf. ibid: 83). Instead, the short story emphasizes the postcolonial concept of ‘Othering’ that refers to the social and psychological process of marginalization m of the minority group by the dominant culture. Everyday situations, e.g. sitting on the bus or buying a fish, confront Mrs. Sen with the feeling of alienation and dislocation. In relation to the analysis from the point of view of TEFL, Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story fosters intercultural competence and Fremdverstehen to a great extent. In critical incidents the learners are not only engaged with the encounter of Indian and American culture but also emotionally involved in the negative immigrant experiences of Mrs. Sen. The short story, however, presents clichés the learners have to examine with a critical eye. As a consequence of taking over her perspective, they learn to empathize and think critically about the process of immigration and experience the difficulties that might arise from living in a foreign country which are ever-present in their everyday life. Apart from the cultural aspect, the short story addresses the global issue of identity, i.e. maintaining and developing one’s personality, which is highly relevant to adolescents. To conclude, Lahiri’s literary work has a great potential in reading and teaching first-generation Indian diasporic experiences clarifying that “the landscape of Indian diaspora has become extremely fluid and provisional and the idea of return and home complex, and so failures, as well as successes, can be expected (cf. Alam 2013: 257). 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Retrieved from (last accessed: 08.03.2018). 187 Students Dining with Mr. Pirzada and Jhumpa Lahiri in the EFL Classroom Laura Commer & Kira Gray 1 Introduction The short story collection Interpreter of Maladies by the American-Indian author Jhumpa Lahiri was first published in 1999. Lahiri is known for her writing about the diversity of diasporic experiences and her focus on protagonists who are displaced from their homelands and therefore feel torn between several cultures. Lahiri herself was born in London in 1967 and has Bengali parents. She grew up in the USA where she graduated from Barnard College and Boston University with a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies. Interpreter of Maladies was her debut which has already won several awards. The most prestigious award was the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, which she received in 2000. Due to her success, the short story collection has been translated into 29 languages (cf. Volkmann 2008: 18-19). The short story “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine”1 is part of Lahiri’s short story collection and consists of 20 pages. The story is set at the time of the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. It takes place close to a university in the north of Boston. It is narrated from the perspective of Lilia, who is the ten-year-old daughter of immigrant Indian parents and is herself born in the USA (cf. Lahiri 2000: pp. 23-24). As a result of biographical similarities, the author can offer valuable and authentic insights: “Lahiri’s stories […] provide valid lessons not only in intercultural competence in the field of the two target cultures India and the USA. Rather, they will also […] further transcultural learning” (cf. Volkmann 2008: 19). Apart from the topicality of issues of migra- 1 This short story will be abbreviated to: “WMP”. 188 tion in Europe and thus also in the students’ experiences, this potential for transcultural learning is what makes Lahiri’s short stories suitable for the foreign language classroom. This paper wants to answer the question to what extent postcolonial experiences in the sense of the postcolonial key concepts are reflected in the short story “WMP” by Lahiri and in which ways it is suitable for the EFL2 classroom. Therefore, the postcolonial key concepts will be explained and their appearance in the story analysed. Afterwards, the story itself will be examined according to its chances and challenges for foreign language teaching. Lastly, a possible teaching unit on the short story will be presented for a Leistungskurs in the German Oberstufe before coming to a conclusion. 2 Postcolonial Key Concepts in “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine” With regards to the short story, several postcolonial key concepts can be distinguished, including the concepts of ‘Displacement’, ‘Diaspora’, ‘Hybridity’ and ‘Othering’. In this chapter these four concepts will be defined and their occurrences in the short story analysed. 2.1 Displacement ‘Displacement’ refers to “large populations of indigenous peoples [being] disrupted and displaced by war, natural disasters and hazards […]” (Ashcroft et al.: 2013: 87). In Lahiri’s stories, the reader encounters positive and negative elements regarding ‘Displacement’: “[On] the one hand, a sense of loss – the loss of one’s community, of the emotional connection with one’s roots and of the authenticity connected with Indian culture” (Volkmann 2008: 23). In the short story at hand, this sense of loss becomes visible when Lilia describes everything her parents miss about their home country: “The supermarket did not carry mustard oil, doctors did not make house calls, neighbours never dropped by without an invitation [...]” (Lahiri 2000: 24). Lilia’s parents long for these aspects of their home to such a degree that “[in] search of compatriots, they […] trail their fingers, at the start of each new semester, through the columns of the university directory, circling surnames familiar to their part of the world” (ibid.).3 On the other hand, the story presents to the reader the experience of a “sense of gain which comes with finding a myriad of options for self-fulfilment, peace and normalcy as contrasted with the atroci- 2 Abbreviation TEFL (EFL): Teaching (English as a Foreign Language). 3 This is how Mr. Pirzada comes into their lives (cf. ibid.). 189 ties committed on the war-torn Asian subcontinent” (Volkmann 2008: 23). The suffering of the people in Dacca is illustrated multiple times throughout the story: “Dacca had been invaded, torched, and shelled by the Pakistani army. Teachers were dragged onto streets and shot, women dragged into barracks and raped. By the end of the summer, three hundred thousand people were said to have died” (Lahiri 2000: 23). In comparison to the horrors endured by the people in Dacca, and also by Lilia’s parents, her mother is relieved and grateful for the freedom and safety presented to her daughter in America: “[Lilia] was assured a safe life, an easy life, a fine education, every opportunity. [She] would never have to eat rationed food […] or hide neighbours in water tanks to prevent them from being shot (ibid: 26-27). It appears that Lilia’s father wants her to appreciate what she has, and he wants her to be aware of what is happening in the war – today known as Bangladesh liberation – and the events which led to it. This becomes evident when one night, while they are watching the news on television, he asks Lilia to pay attention to the scenes painted there (cf. ibid.: 27). Thereby, a connection between her American home and the original home of her parents is constructed. It becomes obvious how important it is to Lilia’s father that she understands the present war because there are many similarities to the situation her parents had been in a few years before. This leads to the next postcolonial key concept that can be found in Lahiri’s story: ‘Diaspora’. 2.2 Diaspora The most complex key concept to be analysed in this paper is ‘Diaspora’, since “[…] it is quite ambiguous in meaning” (Hall 199: 27). In general, ‘Diaspora’ is defined as a “voluntary or forcible movement of peoples from their homelands into new regions” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 81), whereas the original meaning of the term comes from the Greek word diaspeirein which means dispersion or to sow widely (cf. Adur & Narayan: 2017: 246; Cohen 1996: 507). The predominant features of the Greek ‘Diaspora’ were expansion “through plunder, military conquest, colonization and migration” (Cohen 1996: 507-508) and had therefore a ‘positive’ association. The meaning of the term ‘Diaspora’ has changed throughout the years and scholars have not agreed on a single suitable definition of ‘Diaspora’ yet, which is why many different definitions of the term are set up. The positive meaning of the term changed towards a negative one (cf. Langwald 2015: 41), since “[h]istorically, the term ‘diaspora’ 190 referred mainly to the dispersion of Jews from their original homeland” (Safran 2009: viii). Hence, the Jewish ‘Diaspora’ is seen as a prototype and is referred to as ‘the Diaspora’ (cf. Cohen 2008: 1; Safran 1991: 84). During the four periods of modifying the meaning of ‘Diaspora’ which are defined by Langwald (2015), many other ‘Diasporas’ have been added to the term like the Armenian, Chinese and Caribbean ‘Diasporas’ (37-38). Due to this change of meaning towards a broader definition, many scholars criticise that the term loses its academic preciseness (cf. Safran 1991: 83). In order to identify ‘Diasporas’, Safran generated a list of criteria of ‘Diasporas’ which was later on modified by Cohen (cf. Safran 1991: 83-84; Cohen 2008: 6-7). He states that people of a ‘Diaspora’ have been forced to leave their homeland, keep a collective memory of it in mind, think that they will never be fully accepted by the society to which they had to flee and that they see their land of origin as their only place of home to which they will return as soon as possible. This is also called ‘the myth of return’. Furthermore, they think that they should support the retention and recovery of their homeland and continue to relate to it in various ways (cf. Safran 1991: 83-84). Both Cohen and Safran agree that “no single contemporary diaspora will fulfil all the definitional desiderata” (Cohen 1996: 515) and therefore ‘Diasporas’ have to fulfil only a number of these criteria to be characterised as one. Moreover, Cohen sets up different forms of ‘Diasporas’ according to the circumstances of people’s emigration. Thus, people can be part of a victim-diaspora, a labour-diaspora, an imperial-diaspora, a trade-diaspora or a deterritorialised-diaspora (cf. Cohen 2008: 18). Cohen (2008) defines the victim-diaspora as a “class of events characterized by their brutality, scale and intensity so as unambiguously to compel emigration or flight” (2). Next to the victim-diaspora of the Jews (cf. ibid.: 1) the most concise other victim-diaspora was that of slavery, capturing people from Africa and bringing them to America to work on plantations under degrading conditions (cf. Ashcroft et al. 2013: 82). As the contingent of people from Africa decreased, it was preliminarily filled with contract workers from the Asian subcontinent like India. Today, the size of the Indian ‘Diaspora’ is still substantial, not least in the USA (cf. United Nations 2017: 13). Lilia’s parents have left their original home Calcutta in India due to war, their living abroad can therefore be characterised as a victimdiaspora. They had to eat rationed food, obey curfews, watch riots from their rooftop and hide their neighbours in water tanks to prevent 191 them from being shot (cf. Lahiri 2000: 26-27). Since their lives were threatened in India, they had to leave their country of birth behind and begin a new life in the USA as a part of the American-Indian- Diaspora. As a result of their forced flight from India, the myth of return to their homeland is still present in their minds. Lilia pictures this by recognising the things her parents complain about because these things are different from India (cf. ibid.: 24). In addition, a world map is taped over the desk of Lilia’s father on which lines show her parents’ journeys and Calcutta is marked with a silver star (cf. ibid.: 25- 26). Another facet of ‘Diasporas’ is again connected to the homeland: The “collective commitment to its maintenance, restoration, safety and prosperity” (Cohen 1996: 515). Even though “Mr. Pirzada is no longer considered Indian”, he and Lilia’s parents once came from the same nation, India (Lahiri 200: 25). Their common concern for this country becomes evident when Pakistan and India go to war and Lilia depicts her memories: “Most of all I remember the three of them operating during that time as if they were a single person, sharing a single meal, a single body, a single silence, and a single fear” (ibid.: 41). They all are in despair as to the safety of their homeland. This becomes further tangible when paying attention to their constant focus on the news (cf. ibid.: 30). The relationship towards the homeland and especially ‘Diaspora’ “is essentially a particular state of mind which is based on shared feelings of belonging and unbelonging” (Langwald 2015: 65). This can be seen in the feelings of Lilia’s parents who still feel connected to their homeland although they are no longer Indian residents. Lahiri thus refers to various characteristics of ‘Diasporas’ in “WMP”. The story fulfils three of Safran’s criteria for ‘Diasporas’: Firstly, Lilia’s parents have been dispersed from their homeland, secondly, they keep a memory of their homeland in mind and thirdly, they continue to relate to and care for this homeland. Safran’s third criterion of ‘Diasporas’, the alienation and ostracism of immigrants, leads to the next postcolonial key concepts: ‘Hybridity’ and ‘Othering’. 2.3 Hybridity ‘Hybridity’ depicts “the diversity of diasporic experiences” (Volkmann 2008: 18). It is used in a broad definition for denoting the joining of different cultural influences and “the creation of new transcultural forms” as well as for pointing at its leading to a mixture of two or 192 more cultural identities, the so called “third space” (Ashcroftet al. 2013: 135-136). As already indicated, Lilia was born in America whereas her parents are from Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal in India (cf. Lahiri 2000: 26). Therefore, Lilia is born into two cultures: Although born and raised in America, she inherits the Indian culture from her parents. Concluding from her everyday life she identifies more with the American culture than with the Indian one because she is exposed to it considerably more. She learns American history and geography in school and has got an American lifestyle and American friends (cf. ibid.: 27; 33). This contrast between the first and second generation of diasporic people can lead to conflicts because the second generation sees not their parents’ homeland, but the host society as their home (cf. Langwald 2015: 51). In “WMP” there is no real conflict between Lilia and her parents. Her mother even defends her when her father presses her to get informed about the Bangladesh Liberation War (cf. Lahiri 2000: 26). Hence, there is only a little conflict between Lilia and her father about her lack of knowledge concerning her parents’ heritage and history. Due to her increasing knowledge and interest in the current war and her parents’ origin, Lilia starts to feel in-between the American and Indian culture. Instead of following her teacher’s instructions she looks for a book about Pakistan and reads it until her teacher finds her and tells her to do the given task (cf. ibid.: 33). This is not a typical behaviour for Lilia as she is usually a very patient and ambitious student. “[I]n-betweenness is an ambivalent experience: it can be positive as well as negative, a painful state as well as a source of creativity” (Langwald 2015: 57) and “can also lead to liberation and, for instance, transgress cultural borders” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 29). In Lilia’s case ‘Hybridity’ can be seen as something positive since she is free in her choices and way of thinking and not pressed towards the Indian culture by her parents. ‘Hybridity’ is responsible for Lilia’s growing interest to know where her parents came from and to learn about events outside the United States. Nevertheless, she is constantly reminded of her two heritages in a negative way, whether by realising that “[no] one at school talked about the war followed so faithfully in [her] living room”, or by her parents and Mr. Pirzada discussing the “peculiar eating habits of [her] mother’s American coworkers at the bank”, establishing them as different to those of Indian origin (Lahiri 2000: 32; ibid.: 34). Conceiving something or someone as different introduces 193 the last postcolonial key concept to be dealt with in this analysis: ‘Othering’. 2.4 Othering Gayatri Spivak coined the term ‘Othering’ within the frame of imperial discourse, however, in this paper, a broader interpretation of this concept is used in line with Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin’s definition, in which the term ‘Othering’ applies “to the social and/or psychological ways in which one group excludes or marginalizes another group” (2013: 188). Therefore, ‘Othering’ refers not solely to the coloniser and the colonised, but instead to any form of diminishing or excluding another group. In “WMP”, ‘Othering’ is presented through a multitude of experiences. One variety is based on race. In a conversation with her father, Lilia is told that “Mr. Pirzada is no longer considered Indian” (Lahiri 2000: 25). He is different: different from her parents and different from her. Lilia is incapable of understanding this distinction and struggles to comprehend it: “Now that I had learned that Mr. Pirzada was not an Indian, I began to study him with extra care, to try to figure out what made him different.” (Lahiri 2000: 30). Another instant of ‘Othering’ – in this case based on religion – occurs when their conversation shifts to 1947 – the date of India’s independence from Britain in addition to India’s forceful partition. Lilia’s father recounts ‘[...] One moment we were free and then we were sliced up,’ […] drawing an X with his finger on the countertop, ‘like a pie. Hindus here, Muslims there. Dacca no longer belongs to us.’ He told me that during Partition Hindus and Muslims had set fire to each other’s homes. For many, the idea of eating in the other’s company was still unthinkable (Lahiri 2000: 25). It appears that the creation of a physical border between the two religions – inventing for each one their own country – the religious difference between them was highlighted so profoundly that an impassable wall – a mental border – was constructed; forcing them to define themselves as different from one another based on one thing rather than seeing their similarities. Lilia’s childlike perspective allows her to see exactly that; their resemblance: “It made no sense to me, Mr. Pirzada and my parents spoke the same language, laughed at the same jokes, looked more or less the same. [...]” (ibid.). Branding Mr. Pirzada as different appears to be strange for Lilia, she has to force herself to look for the “other- 194 ness” in him. This shows that ‘Othering’ is a subjective concept which is mainly created by society. In this particular regard, this difficulty of categorizing Mr. Pirzada is likewise representative for the political background of the story, which means the ambitions of Eastern Pakistan to become independent from Western Pakistan. Therefore, it is not surprising that making such distinctions seems to be an effortless exercise for some people around Lilia. On Halloween she and her friend Dora go trick-or-treating. Lilia remarks: “[Several] people told me that they had never seen an Indian witch before” (Lahiri 2000: 39). Lilia experiences a form of ‘Othering’ resulting from her race, her skin colour. The people who commented on her being different probably meant nothing overtly negative by it. Nevertheless, they distinguished themselves and their (Caucasian) children from her, marking and making her the ‘other’. As the Jamaican-born Stuart Hall once said: The West has “the power to make us see and experience ourselves as ‘Other’” (1990: 225). 3 Analysis from the Point of View of Teaching English as a Foreign Language This chapter focuses on the analysis of the short story from the point of view of TEFL: The chances and challenges of using this short story in the EFL classroom are investigated. 3.1 Chances TEFL has gone through a paradigm shift in the 21st century (cf. Grimm et al. 2015: 32). One of the central aspects of this transformation is that teaching has changed from being a teacher- to a learnercentred approach (cf. ibid.). In consequence of this shift, it is essential to select literature that has relevance for the students’ lives (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 2016: 51). Relating to Lilia’s perspective is easily achievable for German students attending a Gymnasium because they share a common background “in terms of economic […] and social position”: they come from a first world country and they benefit from comprehensive education (Volkmann 2008: 21). Furthermore, the ‘shared’ perspective of the story is an advantage. The reader sees the events happening through the eyes of the ten-year old Lilia, who has no idea of the imminent war in her parents’ homeland. Like her, most of the German students reading the short story would not be aware of for example the Bangladesh Liberation War or its possible ramifications. Therefore, Lilia’s perspective is similar to 195 the class’s viewpoint; together they are in the process of discovering what is transpiring: Throughout the course of the story, Lilia becomes more interested in the approaching war and after watching refugees fleeing on TV, she begins to empathise with Mr. Pirzada, who has left his family behind in Dacca and is uncertain about their wellbeing: “My stomach tightened as I worried whether his wife and seven daughters were now members of the drifting, clamoring crowd that had flashed at intervals on the screen” (Lahiri 2000: 32). Lilia imagines how Mr. Pirzada would feel in different situations, based on his current circumstance of being separated and out of contact with his family (cf. ibid.: 31). Exposure to Lilia’s thoughts and the process of their development can help students to foster empathy along with her. In the framework of Competence-Based Teaching, cultivating empathy belongs to one of the core teaching/learning objectives, which can be identified based on Bryam’s model of ICC4 (cf. Grimmet al. 2015: 166-167). Moreover, developing awareness and sensitivity for another person’s feelings and thoughts – especially from a different culture – currently has a particular relevance for the students; because of the European migration crisis that started in 2015 (cf. Hanewinkel 2015; cf. Panagiotopoulou & Rosen 2017). Due to that, refugee children are sent to German regular classes without speaking German. Thus, it is important that German students understand how difficult it is to leave one’s homeland and culture behind and not being able to communicate with others due to the language barrier. Additionally, with refugees and German students brought together, the concept of ‘Diaspora’, which is one of the main postcolonial key concepts encountered in the story (see chapter 2.1), is of high relevance. It is essential to remember that a refugee is someone who has been forced to leave his/her home country because being there no longer guaranteed them their human rights and the hope of a humane way of living (cf. Was sind Flüchtlinge? 2016). Many new students from vulnerable countries had to suffer terrible events while fleeing to Germany. Some academics assert that a certain amount of time has to pass before a ‘Diaspora’ can be recognised as such; people might want to eventually return or instead assimilate completely with their host country – soon regarding as their new home (cf. Cohen 2008: 18). Notwithstanding, it might be argued that refugees can be perceived as being diasporic immediately, considering that if asked, most of them would prefer returning to their homeland, but they have no choice and 4 Intercultural communicative competence. 196 must adapt to their new environment (cf. Was sind Flüchtlinge? 2016). Their “strong attachment to the past or [this] block to assimilation in the present and [perhaps] future” enables a ‘Diaspora’ to evolve (Cohen 1996: 517). Nevertheless, even if – in the future – it transpired that they were not considered diasporic, familiarising students with ‘Diaspora’ equips them with the capability to understand what their fellow citizens or classmates are or have been going through. Based on the analysis in chapter 2.1, it is reasonable to say that “WMP” provides a strong vantage point to facilitate an understanding of this concept. Furthermore, in this context of valuing or at least tolerating other people’s feelings and thoughts, examining this short story has the potential to encourage students to perceive and evaluate the experiences of a sense of gain and a sense of loss with regards to ‘Displacement’ (see chapter 2.2). Considering ‘Hybridity’, it is convenient that reading literature leads to the so-called hybrid third space (Grimm et al. 2015: 183); by giving German students the opportunity to reach this ‘contact zone’ between their own culture and the one presented in the literature, the classroom becomes a third space (ibid.). Therefore, this short story – besides helping students to grasp the concept of ‘Hybridity’ per se – can assist them to reflect on the hybrid third space they themselves experience while reading Anglophone literature. In this way they become enabled to “participate in recent debates about identity formation in the age of globalization” (Volkmann 200: 19). Moreover, the students are exposed to the key concept of ‘Othering’ (see chapter 2.4) and by reading literature they “are motivated to take over perspectives from others and look at their own culture with detachment, to appreciate difference through literature rather than blindly following the dominant sociocultural order of othering [...]” (ibid.). Therefore, they are simultaneously learning about ‘Othering’ as they are inspired to welcome diversity in others rather than marginalising them. A further advantage is the accessibility of the language, especially because it is exclusively in English. The chance to read literature written by an author of a minority – Lahiri, being a woman, and neither ‘completely’ American nor Indian – and an author who herself has a grasp of the discussed experiences of ‘Displacement’, ‘Diaspora’, ‘Hybridity’ and ‘Othering’, because she and / or her parents have likely had similar encounters, presents a genuine insight into these topics to the students. It also encourages them to “redress the lopsided scope of traditional representations in textbooks (in which white, middle- 197 class, intact families used to be presented as the normative model)” and challenges them to change their perspectives (Eisenmann et al. 2010: vii; cf. Volkmann 200: 18-20). 3.2 Challenges When working with the short story in the EFL classroom, several challenges must be dealt with. Usually the length would be an advantage because it is easier to motivate students to read a short story than an entire book. However, “WMP” is a comparatively long ‘short’ story. Therefore, students are probably going to expect a shorter text and might become frustrated or even lose their motivation. To prevent this, one could shorten the story, read only parts of it or be sensitive to the students’ expectations by asking about them before reading. The next challenge that arises is the historical background the story is set in. The students have to understand why and how Pakistan and Bangladesh went to war and why India’s independence caused the ‘Displacement’ of Lilia’s parents. Therefore, those events have to be covered in class before dealing with the story itself. To visualise the students’ results, a timeline could be hung up in class on which the students have to take note of new data they get to know during the teaching unit. Moreover, students of the so called ‘Informationsgesellschaft’ may have problems relating to the story (Busch 2017: 54). The expansion of instant communication across the globe has increased rapidly over the last few decades (cf. ibid.). In such an environment, it is hard for students to imagine not being able to contact their family and friends, wherever they are. The story takes place in the 1970s when mobile phones were still practically unknown. Internet communication was inaccessible to private households and during the war “the postal system, along with most everything else in Dacca, had collapsed” (Lahiri 2000: 24). Consequently, Mr. Pirzada cannot communicate with his family and constantly worries about them. Seeing this, Lilia develops empathy for him, which provides a chance to further the students’ awareness and sensitivity to the thoughts, experiences and feelings of another person. However, if they are incapable of relating to the communication problem in the first place, it will be difficult for them to appreciate Lilia’s empathy. This problem can be partially overcome by helping the students become conscious of these technological developments. 198 Based on the analysis of “WMP” from the TEFL perspective, the suitability for the EFL classroom becomes obvious. As outlined, there are many advantages of using the short story in the EFL classroom, including its capability to further ICC. Although some challenges were identified, possible ways to overcome these were delineated – which will be considered in the designing of potential tasks in the next chapter. Therefore, this short story is a valid addition to a teaching unit on India. 4 Teaching Activities This chapter focuses on possible teaching activities which could be done in class when reading the short story. The short story will be part of the teaching unit “India- from postcolonial experience to rising nation” that is part of the Abiturvorgaben 2019 for a Leistungskurs in NRW (cf. Ministerium für Schule und Weiterbildung des Landes Nordrhein- Westfalen 2016: 5). Thus, the colonization of India by the British Empire, the Liberation war and India’s independence as well as economic factors of the Indian industry have already been covered in class before reading the story itself. The constructivist approach PWP5 is used for dealing with the short story which is divided into three phases: before reading the text -pre-, while reading the text -while-, and after having read the text -post-. 4.1 Pre-Reading-Activity A lack of tools for communication is far away from the students’ reality because of modern technological advances. The pre-reading activity addresses this challenge. The students are asked to get up and stand in a line, facing the teacher. It is explained to them that for the next few tasks they are not able to speak or make any noises. If anyone breaks these rules, they have lost the game. The teacher now presents the first task for which the students have three minutes: Stand in a line organized according to hair colour. Next, they are asked to stand in a line based on their height, and finally, based on their age; from youngest to oldest. Depending on the class size, they could be split up into smaller groups; organising themselves only in that particular group, so that it is still possible to complete the task within three minutes. As a game, this pre-reading-activity will likely fulfil its function to motivate the students and foster curiosity. It further prepares them for concepts which might be difficult for them to comprehend – in this 5 Abbreviation PWP: Pre-, While-, and Post-reading phase. 199 case lack of communication (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 201: 78-79). Afterwards, the students will be asked to reflect on the assignments; whether they found them easy or difficult to fulfil and why. The first two tasks are expected to present a little challenge, while the last one will be harder; they will probably not know everyone’s birthdays. Finally, the students are requested to complete a corresponding worksheet (see the table at the end of this chapter). For these two tasks, estimating around 40 minutes is reasonable. However, if any students finish the worksheet early, the extension task will be to start on their homework: reading the story. 4.2 While-Reading-Activity The most important function of a while-reading activity is understanding the text. The students should be supported in their understanding of the text and should be encouraged to reflect on their reading impressions (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 2016: 81). At the end of the introductory lesson, the short story is handed to the students together with the worksheet for the while-reading activity (see table). The teacher informs the students about the length of the short story (20 pages) and their homework: reading the short story and doing task 1 on the worksheet. The students have to read the story and decide whether the utterances of exercise 1 are correct or not at home. In the beginning of the next lesson, the students are asked to do exercise 2 on the worksheet and work with a partner to correct the wrong statements about the story. Then the students get the chance to share their first impressions while-reading the story with the class, to express what they liked and disliked about the story and to ask questions. The discussion directly leads to the Ergebnissicherung of exercise 1 and 2. Based on the partner work the students have done before, the results are only read aloud in class. Exercise 2 cannot be seen as a real while-reading activity because the students do it after they have already read the story at home. Nevertheless, they have to work closely with the text to get the right solutions and that is why this activity is explained in the while-reading section of this paper. 4.3 Post-Reading-Activity Post-reading activities should reflect on various meanings of the text and enable the students to analyse the relationship between characters or representatives of opinions and values (cf. Grimm et al. 2015: 188). In addition to that, post-reading activities offer a space for creative 200 writing tasks such as writing an imaginary dialogue which spells out “the concealed thoughts and feelings of characters” (ibid.). Creative writing supports many skills like noticing the special characters of different perspectives, triggers cultural awareness and combines affective and cognitive insights (cf. ibid.: 188-189). After the while-reading activity, the students deal with Lilia’s feelings and thoughts about Mr. Pirzada’s situation. Therefore, they have to fill in a table on a worksheet as a preparatory step for task 2 on the same worksheet (see table). This task is done with a partner so that the students can compare their ideas. Afterwards, they use their results from task 1 to write a dialogue from Lilia’s point of view, who tells Dora what is going on at home and in Dacca. The characteristics of dialogues and how to write a dialogue have been discussed in class several times and the box on the worksheet is a little reminder for students who might need it. Depending on how long the ‘while-reading’ part takes, the students might not finish their dialogues in class and therefore will finish them at home. Thus, every student can work at his/her own pace, which can be considered as Binnendifferenzierung. In the next lesson the dialogues will be spread in class and the students give each other peer feedback with the post-it activity: the students work in groups of four and their suggestions for improvement and comments are written on post-its and pasted to the dialogues. After that, the students receive their own dialogues back and have the chance to rewrite them. In the end, selected dialogues are presented in class. According to the topicality of the issue due to the high number of refugees that is coming to Germany since 2015, a discussion concerning this topic might come up in class as well. Pre-Reading Activity While-Reading Activity Post-Reading Activity Operationalisierte Aufgabenstellung Describe a difficult situation in one to two sentences (for example being sick, heartbroken, moving to a new neighbourhood, ...) that one of your friends or family members were in and Read the short story “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine” by Jhumpa Lahiri and have a look at the following statements Work with a partner and analyse what Lilia knows about Mr. Pirzada and how she is feeling about him and his situation. Fill in the table. (topics: Family background, Appearance/Character, why he is in Boston, Habits, Feelings and 201 how you supported them (this does not have to be a real situation, you can make something up). Against the background of the ‘noncommunication game’ we have just played in class, assess in one to two more sentences what it would feel like not to be able to communicate with them in this situation, neither verbally nor non-verbally. about it. Decide whether they are right or wrong. Compare your results with a partner and talk about the wrong statements. Correct them and note down the page number of the text where you can find the correct answer. thoughts of Lilia) Imagine you are Lilia and you want to explain to your best friend Dora why Mr. Pirzada comes over for dinner every evening. Write a dialogue in which you explain your feelings and thoughts and why the situation at the other side of the world in Dacca is affecting Mr. Pirzada so much. Take your results from task 1 into consideration. Material/Medium Worksheet Worksheet, short story Worksheet, short story Sozialform Plenum, individual work Individual work, partner work Partner work, individual work Didaktisch- Methodischer Kommentar Motivating, mobilising and preparing students for the content of the story, especially, the outlined problem of the lack of communication Making sure that the students have understood the text Enhancing ICC of students by creating a situation in which the students have to change perspectives 5 Conclusion As this paper has shown, the short story “WMP” can be used as an authentic text in the teaching unit “India- from postcolonial experience to rising nation”. In the first part of this paper, postcolonial key concepts encountered in the short story “WMP” by Lahiri were analysed – namely ‘Displacement’, ‘Diaspora’, ‘Hybridity’ and ‘Othering’. Working with these concepts can lead to a better understanding for people and cultures from formerly colonized countries. Although these concepts are so complex that they could merit their own teaching unit exploring a 202 short story that lets the reader experience all these different perceptions in the way suggested in this paper can help foster empathy, tolerance and understanding: working towards ICC. Due to the limited length of this paper several aspects of ‘Diaspora’ and ‘Displacement’ could not be mentioned, such as Cohen’s revised version of Safran’s list of features of ‘Diasporas’, the difference between first- and second-generation migrants or the contrast between ‘Diaspora’ and similar terms. The results of this first analysis built the foundation for the inquiry regarding the short story’s suitability for the EFL classroom. The chances established in the second part of this paper include: the shared perspective of the students and the protagonist Lilia, which makes them ‘allies’ of hers; deciphering the occurring events together, the relevance for the students dealing with what it feels like to have two homes in the aftermath of the European migrant crisis, in the context of the postcolonial concepts creating and/or fostering the capability to value or at least tolerate another person’s feelings and thoughts, changing perspectives and finally, reading a text by a minority author provides “a valid educational purpose by challenging ethnocentric modes of perception” (Volkmann 2008: 20). The challenges brought about by the short story consist of the great amount of historical background necessary to decode the content, the problematic understanding of not being able to contact your family and friends whenever you wish to and the relatively long length of the story. The paper does not presume to present all existing chances and challenges, however, the identified chances outweigh the identified challenges, especially, as they can be easily overcome, qualifying this short story as a valid addition to a teaching unit on India. In the last part of this paper a teaching sequence was suggested. The designing thereof was based on the first two parts, attempting to create tasks that overcome the problems and further the chances delineated in chapter three. Certainly, whichever tasks one chooses, this short story provides a sturdy platform to aid students in developing awareness, sensitivity and tolerance for others and for different cultures than one’s own, which could not be more important than it is today, in the globalized world we live in. An interesting topic for further research would be to empirically investigate the attitudes of students towards refugees before and after this teaching sequence. 203 Bibliography Adur, S. M., & Narayan, A. (2017). Stories of Dalit Diaspora: Migration, Life Narratives, and Caste in the US. Biography, 40 (1), 244-264. Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (2013). Postcolonial studies: The key concepts (3rd ed.). Routledge Key Guides. New York: Routledge. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (bpb) (2016, April 26).Was sind Flüchtlinge? Retrieved, February 17, 2018, from /politik/grundfragen/politik-einfach-fuer-alle/226097/was-sindfluechtlinge Busch, A. (2017). Informationsinflation: Herausforderungen an die politische Willensbildung in der digitalen Gesellschaft. In Harald Gapski, Monika Oberle, & Walter Staufer (Eds.), Schriftenreihe: Band 10111. Medienkompetenz: Herausforderung für Politik, politische Bildung und Medienbildung (pp. 53–62). Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. Retrieved, February 16, 2018, from Cohen, R. (1996). Diasporas and the nation-state: From victims to challengers. International Affairs, 72(3), 507–520. /10.2307/2625554. Cohen, R. (2008). Global diasporas: An introduction (2nd ed.). London: Routledge. Eisenmann, M., Grimm, N., & Volkmann, L. (Eds.). (2010). Introduction. Teaching the New English Cultures and Literatures. Heidelberg: Winter. Grimm, N., Meyer, M., & Volkmann, L. (2015). Teaching English. Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempto. Hall, S. (1990). Cultural Identity and Diaspora. In Jonathan Rutherford (Ed.), Identity: Community, culture, difference (pp. 222–237). London: Lawrence & Wishart. Hall, S. (1997). Caribbean Culture: Future Trends. Caribbean Quarterly, 43 (1/2), 25-33. Hanewinkel, V. (2015, December 15). Fluchtmigration nach Deutschland und Europa: Einige Hintergründe. Retrieved, February 17, 2018, from /kurzdossiers/217369/fluchtmigration-hintergruende. Jayaram, N. (2004). Introduction. In Narayana Jayaram (Ed.), The Indian Diaspora: Dynamics of Migration (pp. 19-40). New Dehli, London: Sage. Lahiri, J. (2000). When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine. In J. Lahiri (Ed.), Interpreter of Maladies (pp. 23–42). New York: Harper Collins. Langwald, S. (2015). Diasporic generationality: Identity, generation relationships and diaspora in selected novels from Britain and Canada. 204 Studies in Anglophone literatures and cultures (SALC): vol. 7. Augsburg: Wißner-Verlag. Ministerium für Schule und Weiterbildung des Landes Nordrhein- Westfalen (2016). Unterrichtliche Voraussetzungen für die schriftlichen Abiturprüfungen an Gymnasien, Gesamtschulen, Waldorfschulen und für Externe- Englisch. Nünning, A., & Surkamp, C. (2016). Englische Literatur unterrichten (4th ed.). Seelze-Velber: Klett/Kallmeyer. Panagiotopoulou, A., & Rosen, L. (2017, November 9). Zur Inklusion von geflüchteten Kindern und Jugendlichen in das deutsche Schulsystem. Retrieved, February 17, 2018, from usion-in-das-schulsystem. Safran, W. (1991). Diasporas in Modern Societies: Myths of Homeland and Return. Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, 1(1), 83–99. Safran, W., Sahoo, A. K., & Lal, B. V. (2009). Indian Diaspora in Transnational Contexts – Introduction. In William Safran, Ajaya Kumar Sahoo & Brij V. Lal (Eds.), Transnational Migrations: The Indian Diaspora (pp. vii-xxxv). New Delhi: Routledge. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2017). International Migration Report 2017: Highlights (ST/ESA/SER.A/404). Volkmann, L. (2008). Interpreter of Maladies / Interpreter of Cultures. Inter- and Transcultural Aspects of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Short Stories. In Oliver Lindner (Ed.), Anglistik & Englischunterricht: Bd. 72. Teaching India (pp. 17–34). Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter. 205 Finding an Identity in the Midst of Traditional Values and Cultural Pressure: What We Can (Still) Learn from Bali Rai’s (un)arranged marriage Lennart Krieger 1 Introduction In view of the advancing globalization and the emergence of numerous multicultural societies, the teaching of a language as a culture is in need of adjustments. Postcolonial literature from the ‘New Englishes’ has gained more importance in the EFL1 classroom (cf. Freitag & Gymnich 2007: 259). Although there seem to be certain hesitations among German EFL teachers – who still prefer to teach the literature of “dead white men”, e.g. “Shakespeare, John Steinbeck [and] George Orwell” (Lindner 2008: 9f.) – there is an increasing demand for more contemporary Anglophone literature in the EFL classroom which comprises “writing by those peoples formerly colonized by Britain” (Ashcroft 2002: 1). India is most strikingly represented due to its strong “economic and political” development during the last decades and the fact that English is “India’s most important second language” since it is “the unifying link” in the subcontinent with an estimated number of “35 million Indians” (Lindner 2010: 60) who speak English fluently (cf. Mukherjee 2006: 149). Likewise, the Indian diaspora in the UK gains principal relevance as it gradually shapes the multicultural culture. Consequently, the importance of Indian and also Indian diasporic literature makes Bali Rai’s young adult novel (un)arranged mar- 1 English as a Foreign Language will be abbreviated as EFL. 206 riage2 a very suitable example of literature to be taught in the EFL classroom. The following analysis is divided into two parts. Firstly, a textual analysis of UM will be provided with particular regard to its representativeness of the postcolonial key concepts. The examination will primarily focus on the concepts of ‘Diaspora’, ‘Other’ / ‘Othering’ as well as ‘Hybridity’ / ‘Liminality’ and the extent to which they are respectively represented within the narrative. Although the analysis is chiefly based on the key concepts by Ashcroft, Griffith and Tiffin (2000), supplementary positions will be consulted in order to provide a more critical grasp on the topic as well as additional information. Here, it will be argued that UM serves as an example of postcolonial literature as it largely represents the mentioned key concepts. Secondly, a focus will be given to the suitability of UM to be taught in the EFL classroom. In this context, chances and challenges of teaching UM will be considered also with respect to possible problems and their solutions, which will show that the novel, all in all, is especially suitable for the EFL classroom. Finally, three teaching activities, structured as pre-, while- and post-reading, will be suggested as potential ways of teaching UM in the EFL classroom. 2 Postcolonial Key Concepts in “(un)arranged marriage" The first part of this examination will focus on the analysis of postcolonial key concepts as it is argued that they offer a useful starting point to approach the central aspects and themes of the postcolonial novel (cf. Freitag-Hild & Gymnich 2005: 273). Therefore, the key concepts provided by Ashcroft et al. (2000) as well as additional analyses of Wisker (2007), Edwards (2008) and Döring (2008) will serve as a basis for finding out how the key concepts are represented in UM. It needs to be emphasized that these key concepts might overlap and relate to each other. As will be argued, UM largely represents ‘Diaspora’, as conditioned through the notions of ‘Other’ and ‘Othering’, which potentially results in ‘Liminality’ and ‘Hybridity’3. 2 In the following Bali Rai’s novel (un)arranged marriage will be referred to as UM. 3 There are certainly more than these five key concepts represented within (un)arranged marriage, e.g. ‘Mimicry’, ‘Appropriation’, ‘Contact Zone’, etc. – however, due to the limited scope of this work, only these key concepts will be focused on since they are arguably the most striking ones and therefore a sufficient selection in analyzing the novel with regard to its postcolonial key concepts. 207 2.1 ‘Diaspora’ The term ‘Diaspora’ originated from Greek “to disperse” refers to the “voluntary or forcible movement of peoples from their homelands into new regions” (Ashcroft et al. 2000: 81). Whereas it was originally assigned to the history of the Jews leaving the Holy Land as the “first diasporic people” (Edwards 2008: 150), the term now refers to “any body of people living outside their homeland” (Brown 1993: 663). There are various ‘Diasporas’4 since “diasporic groups differ from each other depending on their history, motives, economic situation, host society etc., and [that] they mutate through time” (Linke 2011: 322). However, in an attempt to at least circumscribe the concept of ‘Diaspora’, Cohen outlines the following nine features while stressing that neither all of them have to apply, nor are they mutually exclusive: 1. Dispersal from an original homeland [ ] 2. [ ] the expansion from a homeland in search of work [ ] 3. A collective memory and myth about the homeland [ ] 4. An idealization of the real or imagined ancestral home [ ] 5. The frequent development of a return movement to the homeland [ ] 6. A strong ethnic group consciousness [ ] based on a sense of distinctiveness [ ] 7. A troubled relationship with host societies [ ] 8. A sense of empathy and co-responsibility with co-ethnic members [ ] 9. The possibility of [ ] tolerance for pluralism. (Cohen 2009: 17, my emphases). The definition provided by Ashcroft et al. is included in (1) and (2) while Cohen’s taxonomy goes further in also comprising the diasporic situation after the “dispersal” as well as possible attitudes of diasporic peoples. Nonetheless, these characteristics likewise leave considerable range for interpretation, which makes it necessary to consider each individual ‘Diaspora’ by itself. Also, the problem of identity is at best hinted at indirectly in (6) - (9) albeit identity formation is argued to be a crucial factor in negotiating the individual’s diasporic experience 4 Cohen’s conception of ‘Diaspora’ distinguishes between various ‘Diasporas’, e.g. the “classical, victim diaspora”, “traumatic dispersal”, “labour diaspora”, “imperial diaspora” and “trade diaspora” (Cohen 2009: 61ff.). Since the Indian diaspora is classified by Cohen as “labour diaspora”, the analysis will focus on this key concept (cf. ibid.). 208 which, in turn, gives relevance to the key concepts of ‘Other’, ‘Othering’ and especially ‘Hybridity’. Hall emphasizes this stating ‘Diaspora’s were “defined […] by the recognition of a necessary heterogeneity and diversity” (1990: 235) and “by instability, juxtapositions, tensions and contradictions” (Edwards 2008: 157). Many of these characteristics of ‘Diaspora’ can be found in UM. The Indian community depicted in UM can arguably be classified as the “contemporary Indian Diaspora” in the United Kingdom that “constitutes an important, and in some respects unique, force in world culture” (Edwards 2008: 154). Indian immigration in the UK is considered to be mainly due to the “British Nationality Act” since the “nation […] was in need of every helping hand” (Pirker 2007: 36) after the Second World War which allowed Indians “to enter Britain in search of a better material life” (UM: 177)5. With regard to Cohen’s diasporic features it can be said that, although the actual dispersal of Manny’s family is not as apparent within the novel – with Manny born and bred in Leicester – the features three to seven are well represented. Nevertheless, the collective aspect in Cohen’s features can only be identified exemplarily because any kind of Indian or Punjabi collective is mostly represented through Manny’s family and their relations. Regarding the myth about the homeland, Manny s father strikingly represents this feature which results in a shock when Manny faces Indian s mass poverty in the country that [his] old man was always calling the best in the world (77). Manny himself identifies his father s account on India as a myth during his trip to India: My father s childhood home wasn t quite the place that he had been describing (82). The same also applies to the people of his homeland which are idealized as good Punjabis with better standards and morals which is strikingly contrasting with Manny s actual experience when he discovers that in the village [his father] called home, there were drugs and prostitutes and people having affairs (94; cf. Hesse 2010: 190). Thus, Cohen s fourth feature, the idealization of the real or imagined ancestral home , is equally illustrated in [a]ll the wonderful things that [Manny s father] used to tell [them] about as kids (83). However, the fifth aspect, the development of a return movement is less apparent but merely hinted by his father s reference 5 Since (un)arranged marriage is the central primary source of this paper, all further citations referring to the novel will only include a page number. 209 to his village in India as their real home (96). He also considers Manny getting married the final act of his duty which, once fulfilled, enables him to return home to India with [his] pride and [his] honour (19). Otherwise, there is no indication throughout the narrative that Manny s family would actually move back to India instead they move to another district in Leicester after Manny has got out of the arranged marriage and has lost contact from them (cf. 174). Cohen s sixth point, the ethnic group consciousness [ ] based on a sense of distinctiveness is also represented especially through Manny s father, his brothers and their custom to exclusively associate with other Punjabi families as it is reflected through the wedding (cf. 43). On the other hand the group consciousness also is merely limited to the Punjabi community while other ethnic groups are not included. However, the narrative provides considerable evidence that the family s consciousness is largely constructed by distancing themselves from other groups: unsuitable people Muslims and Hindus and goreh [white people] or, God forbid, kaleh [black people] (ibid.). This also provides evidence for the seventh feature, a troubled relationship with the host societies , as Manny s father rejects the multi-ethnic, as well as English society of Leicester, for them being morally improper, as opposed to Punjabi people, which is mirrored in his definite disapproval of Manny s relationship to his black friend Ady and white girlfriend Lisa: Think of her [Manny's mother] when you are out with that kalah [black person] of yours, smoking and chasing dirty white girls (44). Furthermore, the father appears to consider the host societ[y] a threat to his own culture when he tells Manny that they have to protect [their] culture from the grips of the white man […] being careful not to become too white” (18). At the same time this indicates that Cohen s eighth feature of mutual empathy among ethnic people is scarcely represented. One exception is the character of Mr. Sandhu, Manny s Indian head teacher who shows empathy for Manny s trouble at school which he thinks is due to the pressures of being young and Asian in Britain (48). The last feature could be seen to be represented through Manny himself as he clearly embraces the multiculturalism of his city and thus serves as an example of tolerance for pluralism : everyone kind of melted into the city centre so that it was all multicultural [ ] I liked that (22). However, this tolerance is opposed by Manny s family and since Cohen s features on the whole operate on a collective lev- 210 el, Manny s individual view can be argued to be only small evidence for this feature. On the whole, the society depicted in UM clearly presents the key concept of ‘Diaspora’ as it largely fulfils the majority of Cohen’s diasporic features. Also, Manny’s situation depicted as a “juxtaposition of duty and passion, family bonds and freedom of choice” (Monti 2008: 147) is argued to be a typical conflict on the individual level of ‘Diasporas’, which gives support to the aforementioned findings. These difficulties are represented through the family’s expectations and his love for his friends and girlfriend as well as the endeavour to be free to do what he wants to do (cf. 173). At last, also the fact that Bali Rai himself comes from “an ethnically rich part of Leicester” (4) supports the classification of UM as a “diasporic narrative” (Mishra 2007: 133). 2.2 ‘Other’ & ‘Othering’ The concepts of ‘Other’ and ‘Othering’ are closely related to ‘Diaspora’, as Cohen’s points (6) and (7) already demonstrated. The ‘Other’ is “anyone who is separate from one’s self” which corresponds to the common sense understanding of the term (Ashcroft 2000: 186). It plays a vital role in the process of “identity formation” (Jensen 2011: 63), i.e. in defining “what is ‘normal’ and in locating one’s own place in the world” (Ashcroft et al. 2000: 186f.). ‘Othering’, then, is defined as the process of creating but also excluding and marginalizing the ‘othered’ group (cf. ibid.: 188f.) which occurs both consciously and unconsciously (cf. Jeyaraj 2004: 24). Hence, it does not only foster a “self-other” dichotomy but also “dehumanizes the other” (Brons 2015: 72) by homogenizing people as a “collective ‘they’” and therefore making them “an instance of a pregiven custom or trait” (Pratt 1985: 139) which is often based on false premises (cf. Fuchs 2000: 32). Hence, ‘Othering’ creates differences by ‘essentializing’ and ‘exoticizing’ groups based on the assumption “that a certain group of people inherently possesses certain characteristics” (Jeyaraj 2004: 24). A group then defines itself in not being the ‘Other’ which simultaneously creates their identity and possibly excludes the ‘essentialized’ ‘Other’ (cf. Ashcroft et al. 2000: 190). As will be demonstrated in the following, ‘Other’ and ‘Othering’ are represented in UM to a considerable extent, chiefly through Manny’s father and brothers, but also, in a different manner, through his relatives in India and, at last, through Manny himself. Especially re- 211 garding Manny’s father and brothers, the novel provides numerous examples of ‘Othering’ through the racist attitudes and the embracement of dichotomous thinking on their behalf, which is emphasized every time when they express their disdain for other groups: “what are you, a gorah (white) or something?” (11). The racist remarks of Manny’s father about Ady, Manny’s “Black-Jamaican” friend (12), reflect the notions of essentialism and homogenization: “Ady? Bloody hell! Why are you always with that kalah (black)? […] That kalah will lead you into drugs […] I know what these kaleh are bloody doing, taking bastard drugs” (13). Manny’s brothers equally perform ‘Othering’, e.g. when Harry runs into Manny listening to Ady’s CD in his room: “What is it – bloody black man’s music?” (33). At times, their formation of identity seems to be fuelled less through their own cultural heritage than through what they are not: “not bloody English” (14), “Not like these goreh” (151), “Not like the family in No. 52”, (154) and “not a bloody Hindu” (164). As mentioned previously, ‘Other’/’Othering’ and the creation of dichotomous cultural distinctions and identity formation is not only represented in Manny’s family but also through his relatives in India. Although without the aim of marginalisation, Manny’s uncles and cousins clearly consider English people as ‘Other’ when asking about “white people” and whether they “all live in mansions” (89). Not only with reference to British white people, but also to Manny and his close family, Inderjit employs ‘Othering’ by jokingly calling Manny a “gorah, white boy” (ibid.), while simultaneously questioning their assumed discriminating homogenization: “You goreh think we’re all stupid […] [w]e do know something, Manjit” (89f., original emphasis). Nonetheless, their ‘Othering’ is expressed mostly through jokes, as they do not problematize the difference between themselves and the ‘Other’: “You foreigners are very strange people […] Wearing your funny clothes and speaking your funny language. Laughing at nothing. Like monkeys” (136). They, however, are no exception in the dialectics of ‘Othering’ either, as they in turn homogenize the “Chamarr” (86), i.e. people from the “lower servant-caste” who they label as “[b]ad people” with reference to their assumed lack of morals (94). Finally, Manny partially forms his own identity in emphatically distancing himself from his family: “I ain’t nothing like you and your mates, and I never will be, no matter what happens” (165). However, the aspect of marginalisation is not as apparent with Manny as he points out that he “was different from the rest of [his] family” but “[n]ot bet- 212 ter than them or anything like that” (70). Moreover, the interest that Manny and Inderjit show for each other’s culture (cf. 89, 102) contrasts Harry’s lack of interest for the cultures that he others: “I ain’t interested in gorah stuff” (33). 2.3 ‘Hybridity’ & ‘Liminality’ While being in interdependence with ‘Other’ and ‘Othering’, ‘Diaspora’ might be argued to be the ground of ‘Liminality’ and ‘Hybridity’ since a diasporic situation – by its very nature – is marked by the coexistence of culturally different groups in one place (cf. Linke 2011: 318). The idea of a “diasporic identity […] as a positive affirmation of […] Hybridity” (Ashcroft et al. 2000: 83) is echoed in Hall’s description of the diasporic individual as living “by Hybridity” (1990: 235, emphasis in original). While originally describing the result of “crossbreeding” two different specimens in horticulture (Döring 2008: 34), in postcolonialism, the controversial6 term ‘Hybridity’ refers to the “creation of new transcultural rather than multicultural forms” and is simultaneously regarded as a “concept and lived experience” (Wisker 2007: 189f.). It is strongly related to ‘Liminality’, i.e. the temporary “inbetween space” (Bhabha 1994: 56, emphasis in original) in which individuals negotiate a new identity (cf. Ashcroft et al. 2000: 136). ‘Liminality’ “as a state of flux”, is a “transitional state, or space” between “normative stages” (Jeyaraj 2004: 15f.) where “strategies for personal or communal self-hood may be elaborated” (Ashcroft et al. 2000: 145) – and thus supports potential hybrid identity formation. Bhabha argues that all “cultural statements and systems are constructed” in a “Third Space” where different cultures merge together, i.e. a space where every agent is essentially hybrid which makes the idea of one pure culture “untenable” (1994: 54f.). Similarly to ‘Diaspora’, both ‘Hybridity’ and the ‘Liminality’ challenge conceptions like “essentialist models”, “nativism”, “exoticism” and “authenticity” (Ashcroft et al.: 82, 136ff.), i.e. notions of cultural purity as well as dichotomous thinking of cultural identities in terms of “self and other” (Linke 2011: 317). Instead ‘Hybridity’ supports the claim that “no one is purely one thing” (Said 1993: 407). It offers a “positive alternative” to the “placelessness” (Eisenmann 2015: 219) that a marginalized diasporic group might feel when “not fitting to either group” (Wisker 2007: 190). In- 6 Young argues that the term carried negative meaning regarding colonial discourse as it is arguably “loaded with deeply racist assumptions” (Edwards 2008: 143f.) by presupposing a racial framework (cf. Ashcroft et al. 2000: 138). 213 stead of regarding identity as a static entity, ‘Hybridity’ breaks with these fixed patterns and enables individuals to create their own, dynamic identity that is “always in flux” (Eisenmann 2015: 221) and subject to “essential heterogeneity” (Döring 2008: 36). The concepts of ‘Hybridity’ and ‘Liminality’ are represented in UM to a considerable extent as Monti argues that the novel “deconstructs as it were the notion itself of hybridity in contemporary migration” (2008: 153). Manny, as well as his friends and his uncle, Jag, serve as vital examples to promote the concept of ‘Hybridity’. His search for identity between the “hyper-traditional” (29) Punjabi culture and the multicultural society of Leicester results in his overcoming of the dichotomous assumptions of his family. As he realized that he “was different” (70) from his family, the following encounter with his uncle Jag makes him actively take charge of who he wants to be: neither a Punjabi, nor a “gorah, white boy” (89), but simply himself, outside of these static classification. Therefore, Jag, the “liberal environmental protectionist” (Hesse & Bögel: 2008: 7) demonstrates the “positive alternative” (Eisenmann 2015: 219) that ‘Hybridity’ offers to be as he rejected the cultural identity his family tried to force on him in favour of a free, transcultural life that leads him all around the world (cf. 114, 120f.). A discussion between Jag and Piara about Manny being held prisoner in India highlights the juxtaposition of a pre-structured cultural and a transcultural identity: Jag demands Piara “to let people alone to be what they are” instead of forcing traditions on him (117). Further evidence lies in Manny’s realisation that he “didn’t even really know who [his brother] was” which reflects Bhabha’s concept of the ‘Third Space’ as Manny assumes a personality of his brother behind his dogmatic beliefs (151). Also, Ady promotes the concept of ‘Hybridity’ by constantly switching accents: among others, he speaks in “mock posh”, “John Wayne”, Asian, “stupid American”, “gangstarap style” and “thick Jamaican” accent (26f., 63f.). This makes it impossible for essentialists to ‘other’ him on account of his accent – he is above fixed cultural classifications as a transcultural, hybrid identity. Moreover, Ady’s girlfriend, Sarah, also supports transculturalism, as Manny states that her family is “quite a mix […], but it didn’t bother [him]” (31) – which is again underlined by the fact that Sarah later bears Ady’s child (cf. 60). Also, Manny’s girlfriend, Lisa, exemplifies a demand for hybrid thinking in disapproving of people who gave her “looks” for being in a relationship with Manny (49). 214 3 Analysis from the Point of View of Teaching English as a Foreign Language The second half of this paper will focus on the novel’s suitability in the German EFL classroom. In assessing to what extent it is appropriate to be taught, the chances and challenges will be raised and analysed. In order to successfully teach the novel with its numerous cultural implications and concepts, the following aspects should be taken into consideration beforehand. Since the language employed in UM is considered “appropriate for intermediate as well as for advanced students”, the novel is suggested to be most suitable for classes of the 10th grade and older, i.e. in the Oberstufe (Hesse 2010: 185; cf. Hesse 2016: 78). One of the chances of teaching UM lies in the topical frame that it represents. On the one hand, topics like the global challenge, tradition and change and the challenge of individualism – all of them “mandatory for advanced learners in Germany” – are perfectly represented through UM, which makes it a very appropriate novel to be worked on in accordance with the curriculum (Hesse 2010: 185). UM comprises of topics of great contemporary relevance in the light of “the growing tendency of global migration and hybrid identities in the early twenty-first century” (Lindner 2008: 70). Moreover, by depicting the Indian diaspora in England, UM avoids presenting a “rather outdated image of a predominantly white Britain with a homogeneous majority culture” (ibid.: 8). Hence, everything that constitutes the aforementioned importance of Anglophone postcolonial literature is included in UM. Furthermore, the development of Intercultural Competence, Perspektivenübernahme and Fremdverstehen is among the most important goals the of the EFL classroom, which are argued to be realised best through literature that will support the students’ emotive, imaginative, emancipatory and social competences (cf. Freitag-Hild & Gymnich 2005: 260; Nünning & Surkamp 2012: 25). As Woyth-Gutberlet emphasizes, “[t]eaching pupils to be sensitive towards social and ethnic difference” has become even more essential today “in view of the effects of globalization” (2006: 293). Therefore, with the aim of developing empathy, it is necessary that the narrative in question provides sufficient Lebensweltbezug, i.e. situations that the students can personally relate to on the basis of their own cultural surroundings (cf. Freitag & Rupp 2009: 324). Therefore, UM is particularly suitable as a young adult novel that is told through the perspective of Manny, a European-born teenager, 215 who is roughly the same age as the German students from the 10th grade and correspondingly deals with similar conflicts of puberty (cf. Hesse & Bögel 2008: 4). Also, as a “multicultural novel” (Hesse 2009: 38), it does not only comprise high potential of identification for teenagers in general but also for those who share the problem of finding an identity while growing up between two cultures (cf. Mukherjee 2006: 145; cf. Hesse & Bögel 2008: 7). In addition, the numerous accounts of Manny’s inner thoughts demonstrate a high amount of Innenweltdarstellung, which makes it particularly suitable to support Perspektivenübernahme and empathy (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 2012: 47). In times of advancing globalization and the current refugee crisis, it is likely that some of the students have similar experiences and therefore easily identify with Manny on this level (ibid.). This postcolonial experience may motivate students to reflect on their own cultural identity as well as on intercultural encounters (Freitag-Hild & Gymnich 2005: 261). Since essentialism and nativism are emphatically questioned through the notion of ‘Hybridity’, UM also offers personal access to the transcultural discourse of postcolonial studies and fosters the ability to critically reflect on the concept of normative cultural identities (cf. ibid.: 262ff.). Moreover, due to Manny being in between two cultures, UM does not only communicate knowledge about the multicultural British society, but also offers an insight into Indian-Punjabi cultures. By depicting India through Manny’s European perspective, a point of identification is maintained even when dealing with a culture that is potentially both quite far away and very different from the students’ own culture. For instance, the novel illustrates the “traditional joint family” (Monti 2008: 152; cf.: 10, 174), its rather patriarchal hierarchies through both, the respect-marking suffix –ji, as in “Daddy-ji” (18), and the women who dedicate all their time to cooking and taking care of the children: “’Imagine that,’ laughed Aunt Harpal, ‘a Punjabi man making food for his wife. How can that be?’” (127). While some scholars rightly criticize the German curriculum for rather focusing on ‘Diasporas’ instead of India, UM serves as a suitable counter example as it does represent India to an extent (cf. Wandel 2013: 388f.). Nonetheless, Wandel has a point in arguing that students should “be made aware of the fact that these are presentations of diasporic life […] rather than of the ‘real’ India” (ibid.) which hence needs to be made clear in working with UM as well. 216 Finally, another chance of teaching UM is that, as one of the “fictions of migration”, it can support the development of “transcultural awareness” (Freitag & Rupp 2009: 325) which is another central goal of EFL next to Intercultural Competence (cf. Eisenmann 2015: 222). Manny’s negotiation of his identity as well as the character of his uncle Jag, serve as fruitful examples of “plural, hybrid, transcultural concepts of individual identities” (ibid.). Therefore, UM supports the Transcultural Competence of the students who learn to abandon a fixed “Eigenidentität” in favour of a cultural identity that is flexibly negotiated through the exchange with others (Volkmann 2010: 22). Although there are numerous chances in teaching UM, the novel also comprises certain challenges which need to be taken into consideration when considering it for the EFL classroom. One of the most obvious risks in working through UM is the language: the fact that UM is “written in authentic young vernacular” (Hesse 2010: 185) might raise difficulties for German students. While Harry and Ranjit add “innit” to nearly anything they say, their utterances also include incorrect grammar: “Stop talking like you something special, you poofter […] Anyone would think you was white, innit” (16). Ady, on the other hand, intentionally imitates various accents which could make it difficult for students to decode the text from bottom up: “I an’ I nah deal wi’ dem deh drugs an’ ting” (64). Also without imitated accents the dialogues between Ady and Manny comprise ample amount of slang language: “Jus’ throw a wobbly man” (ibid.). Finally, in addition to slang and accents, numerous dialogues within Manny’s family include Indian/Punjabi vocabulary, e.g. “phabbi-ji”, “manjeh” and “bhai-ji” (9, 132f.). Since UM extensively deals with Punjabi culture, students need to be provided with appropriate background knowledge as orientation when dealing with, e.g., “Sikh” or “chapatis” (175, 132). Although the annotations certainly help to understand most of the unknown expressions, it should be taken into consideration that some students might nonetheless be discouraged. One way to tackle this problem might be appropriate scaffolding, e.g. prereading activities that provide students with applicable background knowledge, or exercises that exclusively deal with these passages to shed some more light on the new linguistic aspects. This also applies to the, arguably, rather one-sided representation of India: since the novel is narrated exclusively through Manny’s perspective, the Prinzip der Perspektivenvielfalt, which is particularly important in working with multicultural contents, is not sufficiently regarded (cf. Nünning & 217 Surkamp 2012: 48). To provide Perspektivenvielfalt students could be asked to re-write certain passages from the view of another character or to produce creative texts of other perspectives by filling the ‘blank spaces’ in the narrative, e.g. the father’s perspective after Manny moved out from home (cf. ibid.: 78). Another potential challenge is the problem of political correctness. According to Lindner, it can be defined as “a policy of avoiding actions or expressions which exclude, insult or marginalize people who are socially underprivileged” (2008: 80). As has been outlined in the context of ‘Othering’, the novel includes a lot of examples of racism, insults and marginalisation although not necessarily of socially underprivileged people. Manny’s father and brothers provide corresponding examples when they agitate against basically any other ethnic group: unsuitable people Muslims and Hindus and goreh [white people] or, God forbid, kaleh [black people] (43). Besides the textual level, it is likely that the class also includes students with an ethnic, perhaps even Indian, background. This needs to be taken into account when starting a discussion about, e.g. the custom of arranged marriage or the Sikh religion. Although the novel seems to give a very negative account of religion at first, Manny evaluates his disapproving attitude in the end and emphasizes that he merely rejects the practices of his family but however respects the religion itself as something totally different (175). This problem might be tackled by focusing on the numerous violations in connection with Manny s evaluation at the end that might be made the topic of an inclass discussion. Although the aspects of language and political correctness might raise difficulties in dealing with the novel in the EFL classroom, it needs to be emphasized that these are challenges – thus, in overcoming them they bear valuable chances. The language aspect, for instance, can also be regarded as a broadening of the students’ linguistic horizon and as sensitizing them for the fact that there are plenty of other ‘Englishes’ next to Received Pronunciation which is mostly taught at German schools. In can also be fruitful to make language in UM subject of discussion since language is argued to be strongly related with “identity formation” (cf. Jensen 2011: 64; cf. Mukherjee 2006: 145). The same applies to the issue of political correctness which, if it is suitably dealt with in class, can be the basis of a very enriching discussion that “makes learners aware about functions and distributions of stereotypes” (Lindner 2008: 78). At any rate, due to these issues as 218 well as the problem of the unilateral depiction of the Indian diaspora and particularly India, it is advised to consult additional material about the matter and to plan enough time for discussions of stereotypes and political correctness when dealing with the narrative in class. 4 Teaching Activities In the following three activities that might be used to teach UM in class will be proposed. By regarding reading a process constructed through both the pre-knowledge of the reader and the content of the text itself, it is argued to be particularly important to support the reader’s interaction with the text (cf. Nünning & Surkamp: 71). Therefore, process-oriented teaching of literature is suggested to be structured by three segments – pre-, while- and post-reading – which is argued to be particularly advantageous when dealing with rather complex texts (ibid.). 4.1 Pre-reading Activity This pre-reading activity aims at arousing the students’ interest as well as providing them with an insight into the traditional custom of arranged marriage. The video of the New York Times, “Transforming India’s Concept of Marriage” (Singh 2015), demonstrates the topicality of the matter and presents contrasting perspectives regarding the concept of marriage. Also, by choosing a video that deals exclusively with the Indian subcontinent, the activity does justice to the criticism that teachers of EFL “tend to deal more with multicultural Britain and the USA than with the South Asian subcontinent” itself (Wandel 2013: 388). It provides students with alternative approaches, especially through the couple, Kavita and Nirav Ranpuria (Singh 2015: 1:12- 2:10), who had a semi-arranged marriage. The video also bears the advantage of visualization which helps motivate students to engage with the topic instead of instantly confronting them with a plain text (Nünning & Surkamp 2012: 246). Regarding the audio aspect, the video also acquaints the students with samples of Indian English and thus provides them with another important cultural component which can hardly be represented through the text. The students are provided with a work sheet including guiding questions to sensitize them for certain aspects of the video which they are supposed to answer while watching. The sheet helps students to structure the video in separate sections, guiding questions, scaffolding in form of annotations and direct quotes from the video. Depending on the level of the class, students can initially discuss their findings in 219 pairs before discussing the video in plenum. Findings can be written down by a student on a transparent using a projector. 4.2 While-reading Activity While-reading activities are aimed at supporting the students’ readingprocess as well as their comprehension (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 2012: 74). Particularly in the case of extensive texts, which cannot be dealt with exclusively in school, they seek for making the students autonomous readers by motivating them to get actively involved with the text (cf. ibid.). Although UM can be considered a relatively short novel (176 pages), this aspect is nonetheless supportive for the readingprocesses of the students. This activity is constructed to sensitize the students for certain information regarding the characters’ attitudes towards a) arranged marriages and b) other culture groups. Firstly, by focusing on the different perspectives towards arranged marriages the while-reading activity seizes on the material of the pre-reading activity. Secondly, in paying specific attention to the various moments one character ‘others’ another group, students get more aware of the acuteness of ‘Othering’ in the narrative. They are asked to fill in the reading log with notes and quotes which suit the aforementioned criteria. Therefore, the reading log is structured with regard to the characters, on the left, and space for the respective quotes, on the right. 4.3 Post-reading Activity By working with post-reading activities, students will be enabled to reflect and transform the newly acquired insights into other contexts (cf. Caspari 1997: 45). Thus, post-reading activities follow the purpose of interpreting the text (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 2012: 78). Since UM is focalized exclusively from Manny’s subjective perspective, students could be asked to examine another character’s thoughts, e.g. by writing an interior monologue of Manny’s father after having left him in India or after Manny completed his cheat. The functions of this activity would be twofold: it promotes the students’ Perspektivenübernahme and Fremdverstehen and lets them engage with additional opinions on arranged marriages. This activity would be especially useful to support the aforementioned Prinzip der Perspektivenvielfalt. Another possible post-reading activity would be to consider alternative ways to handle the forced marriage (cf. Hesse & Bögel 2008: 19). Manny’s own considerations regarding his decisions and regrets (cf. 173ff.) could serve as a starting point to create alternatives which students could discuss. 220 Furthermore, they could reflect on the family’s idea of trying to straighten out Manny by leaving him in India, e.g. by writing a continuation to the fight between Uncle Piara and Uncle Jag (cf. 116-7) and imagine what else they would say if they were not interrupted by Manny. Students would thus need to engage with both of the characters. Alternatively, this debate could also be set within the classroom so that two groups of students discuss the pros and cons of arranged (not forced) marriages. Pre-Reading-Activity While-Reading-Activity Post-Reading- Activity Operationalisierte Aufgabenstelllung Watch the video “Transforming India’s Concept of Marriage” by the New York Times. Take notes regarding the following questions: Copy the ‘reading log’ below into your exercise book. While reading (un)arranged marriage, add quotes to the reading log whenever a character expresses his/her attitude towards a) the concept of arranged marriages, and b) another cultural group. In order to see if the attitudes develop throughout the novel, write down chapters and page numbers as in the following example: [grid] 1) Write an interior monologue from the perspective of Manny’s father. 2) Imagine how the discussion could have continued if it had not been interrupted. Together with a partner, write a dialogue between Piara and Jag. Material/Medium Video: “Transforming India’s Concept of Marriage” Computer; projector Work sheet Bali Rai’s (un)arranged marriage Work sheet Bali Rai’s (un)arranged marriage Work sheet Exercise book Sozialform EA (PA) EA 1) EA 2) PA Didaktisch- Methodischer The findings can be written down on a It is crucial that the students understand that In accordance with the learners’ levels, 221 Kommentar transparent by the students which can, depending on the students’ level, be done with a partner. only very specific information is to be extracted from the text – this should be emphasized to avoid students writing down almost everything that Manny says or does. guiding questions can be provided to support their writing process and slightly control the rough direction of the contents. 5 Conclusion After an analysis of UM with regard to its content and suitability for the EFL classroom, the following can be said: Being set in multicultural Leicester and dealing with typical problems of teenagers who grow up in between cultures, the novel represents numerous features of ‘Diaspora’. Correspondingly, the protagonist’s development serves as an illustrious example of hybrid identity formation in the liminal space that his environment is to him. In particular, the two key concepts of ‘Other’ and ‘Othering’ are signified through Manny’s family and relatives, but also partially through himself when he tries to distance himself from them. Since this analysis was limited to the aforementioned key concepts, further analysis of UM with regard to other key concepts, such as ‘Appropriation’, ‘Contact Zone’ and ‘Mimicry’ might be fruitful. Here, the question how these concepts are represented by the novel could be made a topic of discussion. Concerning the chances, especially the potential of UM in developing the students’ empathy in terms of Perspektivenübernahme, Fremdverstehen and Intercultural as well as Transcultural Competence becomes apparent. As a multicultural novel with Manny as a hybrid character, UM provides students with numerous opportunities to get more acquainted with the British and the Indian culture, but also to reflect on the conflict of arranged marriages and cultural identity formation. Regarding the challenges, possible obstacles, e.g. slang, Punjabi expressions and potentially necessary background information on Indian customs, should be reflected. Also, the problem of political correctness with regard to topics like racism and the arranged marriages needs to be taken into account before teaching UM. For future research, it could be interesting to find out to what extent a similar (coming of age-) novel, which – other than UM – is set in India instead of the UK, would result in different perception of the culture as, for instance, rather open towards alternative concepts of marriage. 222 At last, pre-, while- and post-reading activities were proposed with regard to the chances and challenges and to the various postcolonial key concepts within UM. While the pre-reading activity aims at providing the students with background knowledge about arranged marriages, the while-reading activity is concerned with creating awareness of the key concepts in UM. The post-reading activities take the Prinzip der Perspektivenvielfalt into account by letting the students reflect on the main conflict of UM from various perspectives. Overall the analysis at hand has shown that UM, with all challenges taken into account, has great potential to be taught in the EFL classroom, giving students the opportunity to understand postcolonial experience due to its versatile representation of key concepts and various chances. Bibliography Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (2000). Postcolonial Studies: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge. -------- (2002). The Empire Writes Back (2nd ed.). London: Routledge. Rai, B. (2010). (un)arranged marriage. Stuttgart: Ernst Klett Sprachen. Bhabha, H. (1994). The Location of Culture. London & New York: Routledge. Brown, L. (Ed.). (1993). The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Vol. 1). New York: Oxford University Press. Brons, L. (2015). Othering, an Analysis. Transcience, 6 (1), 69-90. Caspari, D. (1997). Übersicht über kreative Umgangsformen mit literarischen Texten. Der Fremdsprachliche Unterricht Englisch, 3, 44-45. Cohen, R. (2009). 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Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Woyth-Gutberlet, S. (2006). Glimpses of Indian Life in the Classroom: Salman Rushdie’s Short Story “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies”. In W. Delanoy & L. Volkmann (Eds.), Cultural Studies in the EFL Classroom (pp. 293-300). Heidelberg: Winter. 225 East meets West in Salman Rushdie's "A Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies" Sophie Gnech & Svenja Harzem 1 Introduction As Reinhold Wandel already recognised in 2013, “a gradual change towards widening the English-speaking geographical scope [has taken] place” (87). Dealing with India – “The Jewel in the Classroom”, as Oliver Lindner (2010: 60) calls it – in EFL teaching originally served to widen students’ Eurocentric views, to make them receptive to foreign cultures and countries as well as to foster their Fremdverstehen (cf. Wandel 2001: 4). Teaching has since then focused on “the processes of meaning creation happening between representatives of the target culture and their addressees in other countries. […] [Learners are] invited to become personally involved in the exploration of English-speaking cultures as self-reflective co-constructors of cultural meanings” (Delanoy & Volkmann 2006: 13). But the focus of teaching units on India in the German EFL classroom has only very recently changed from solely teaching the Indian diaspora in Britain to a more multi-layered and multicultural approach. Therefore, many Europeans' views of India are still overshadowed by stereotypical ideas, ignoring the fact that India is one of the most heterogeneous and culturally complex countries of the world, unifying manifold different cultures, religions and languages while representing the world’s largest democracy (cf. Volkmann, 2010, pp. 114-117). In recent years, a canonical collection of English texts dealing with India in the EFL classroom has emerged (cf. Wandel 2013: 390). The following paper focuses on one of Salman Rushdie’s short narratives 1 In this paper, EFL is used as a shortened form for ‘English foreign language’. 226 that has been used by many German EFL teachers, namely “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies”. Although “the so-called Rushdie affair has overshadowed analysis of Salman Rushdie’s fiction […], the variety and sophistication of journal articles on Rushdie and his fiction have increased” (Fletcher 1994: 1) and therefore, it is of central interest to have a closer look at the story’s suitability for the EFL classroom. The paper aims at answering two questions: Firstly, the question of which postcolonial concepts are reflected in Salman Rushdie’s short story “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” is answered in the following chapter. The analysis of the key concepts ‘Marginality’, ‘Feminism’ and ‘Binarism’ is mainly based on Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin (2013). Secondly, this paper answers the question if the short story is indeed suitable for being read and taught in the German EFL classroom in the subsequent chapter of the analysis. In this course, chances and challenges of reading and teaching “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” are discussed. The next part presents teaching activities, following the concept of a process-oriented teaching of literature and therefore subdividing the tasks into pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading activities. Finally, the conclusion sums up the analytical results from chapter two and three and gives an outlook on possible future research questions. 2 Postcolonial Key Concepts in “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” “Since the appearance of Edward Said's Orientalism in 1978, […] we have witnessed the emergence of postcolonialism as discursive practice in [Euro-American] literary and cultural studies” (Lee 1997: 89). A broad variety of literary works can be included into this academic field, which results in a heterogeneity of these texts. However, what each of them have in common beyond their special and distinctive regional characteristics is that they emerged in their present form out of the experience of [colonisation] and asserted themselves by foregrounding the tension with the imperial power, and by emphasizing their differences from the assumptions of the imperial centre (Ashcroft et al. 1989: 1). These texts can be analysed on the basis of their common denominator, namely the postcolonial key concepts, which are reoccurring 227 themes and aspects that refer to postcolonial experiences. As Salman Rushdie's short story “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” also presents some of these concepts, the following content analysis will focus on the most defining ones for this particular short story. 2.1 Marginality The postcolonial key concept of 'Marginality' “indicates a positionality that is best defined in terms of the limitations of a subject's access to power” (Ashcroft et al. 2007: 121) or knowledge (cf. Williams et al. 2011: 14). According to Williams, Vira and Chopra (2011), this concept includes a social and a spatial sphere. “The social dimensions […] might refer to matters of demography, religion, culture, social structure […], [and] economics” (14-15), whereas the spatial dimension does not only include geographical distance, but also “the product of being 'out of place' within the ideological centre […], which directly challenges the integrity of the nation, e.g. social exclusion due to race, religion, gender or […] caste” (ibid: 15). The authors also remark that these dimensions often coincide with each other, which results in a reinforcement of these experiences. However, 'Marginality' should always be regarded as a dynamic process, which entails that tensions between certain groups are prone to changes and that the members of a social group, that is commonly regarded as marginalised, do not necessarily experience the same levels of exclusion or oppression (cf. ibid.). Hence, 'Marginality' is very closely linked to the concept of 'Othering', that refers to “social and/or psychological ways in which one group excludes or [marginalises] another” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 188). Both of these concepts are “a consequence of the binaristic structure of various kinds of dominant discourses, such as patriarchy, imperialism and ethno-centrism” (Ashcroft et al. 2007: 121) and present two of the major themes that can be encountered in postcolonial literatures. Scholars like Stephen Morton argue that it is from the margins of colonial subordination and oppression on the grounds of race, class, gender or religion that postcolonial writers and theorists claim political and moral authority to contest or oppose the claims of a dominant European imperial culture (Morton 2010: 162). Salman Rushdie's short story “Good Advice is Rarer Than Rubies” creates a protagonist that can be regarded as a marginalised individual on various levels and thus offers a perspective that most Western readers may not be accustomed to. In the beginning of the story, 228 Miss Rehana is introduced as one of the “Tuesday women” (Rushdie: 6). These women arrive on Tuesdays in front of the British Consulate in order to apply for passage to London. In this short paragraph, the reader is presented with multiple levels of 'Marginality' that apply to Miss Rehana. Firstly, the emphasis of the term “Tuesday women” has a very gendered connotation and presents the majority of the members of this group as “veiled” (ibid.), “frightened” (ibid.) and heavily dependent on their male family members who accompany them (cf. ibid.). This depiction of female characters results in a sense of inferiority and thus marginalisation of women in the beginning of the short story. However, even within this already marginalised group of people, Miss Rehana represents an example of 'Marginality' on its spatial dimension in the sense of not fitting in with these particular women. She has come “barefaced” (ibid.), “on her own” (ibid.) and “did not seem at all alarmed” (ibid.). Thus, even amongst the marginalisation of women, she is depicted as different from the rest of them. In addition to being a woman, Miss Rehana is further marginalised when the story reveals that she is orphaned and poor (cf. ibid.). As a result of her family situation and her poverty she belongs to a group of women whose parents have arranged marriage prospects for their children (cf. ibid.: 8). At first, the reader only gets to know of her engaged status and that her fiancée is currently residing in London, but it is not until the end of the short story that Miss Rehana reveals that this was an “arranged engagement” (ibid.: 14). Her father chose this man because he assessed him of being capable of looking after his daughter, however, Miss Rehana confesses that her fiancée “is like a stranger” (ibid.) to her and that an age difference of 21 years separates the two of them. The character of Miss Rehana thus speaks from the perspective of a female, impoverished character with no family connections except for an arranged engagement to a man who is living overseas. In the following subchapter, the aspect of gender and Miss Rehana’s depiction as a clearly marginalised character will be analysed more thoroughly. 2.2 Feminism The concept of 'Feminism' can be regarded as a very central theme in postcolonial literary studies as both patriarchy and imperialism can be seen to exert analogous forms of domination over those they render subordinate. Hence the experiences of women in patriarchy and those of [colonised] 229 subjects can be paralleled in a number of respects, and both feminist and post-colonial politics oppose such dominance (Ashcroft et al. 2007: 93). In accordance with this definition, Wilson-Tagoe (2010) adds that “[as] theoretical formulations committed to transforming political, race and gender relations, [postcolonialism, feminism, and womanism] challenge hegemonic and oppressive systems, and explore possibilities for change” (120). Similar to the individual experiences, marginalisation entails for various members of a social group, “postcolonial feminist approaches, through their different [analyses], bring to visibility the diversity of postcolonial subjects' experiences” (Ozkazanc-Pan 2012: 574). Thus, exploring literary works of this specific marginalised group enables all readers to shift their perspective to people who “can be twice oppressed: by neocolonialist political structures and by traditions of patriarchy” (Baldwin & Quinn 2007: 14). However, the current discourse critically reflects upon two major problems of this concept. Firstly, it can be argued that “[the] insertion of women's experiences in postcolonialism may be a feminist act, but only to an extent” (Wilson-Tagoe 2010: 121), as readers should be able to perceive 'Feminism' as a “Western inflected political discourse” (ibid.) that does not apply in all accords to the experiences of women in other countries. Secondly, the origin of these postcolonial literary works should also be critically reflected. Scholars like Gayatri Spivak have raised “questions about the representation of oppressed groups and about who, if anyone, can speak on their behalf” (Baldwin & Quinn 2007: 14). The latter problem is one that directly applies to the short story of “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies”. Although it has already been established that the protagonist speaks from a marginalised perspective, the author, Salman Rushdie, has never experienced any of these concrete forms of 'Marginality'. Nonetheless, he portrays Miss Rehana as a part of these “Tuesday women”, being distinctively different to the other women in terms of her background and her behaviour that alludes to the image of a strong, feminist character. The brief concept analysis of 'Marginality' already established that Miss Rehana is portrayed to be a contrast to the other women who have travelled to the British Consulate. The fact that she came without company does not only underline her situation of no longer having any family connections, but it also emphasises her autonomy (cf. Rushdie: 6). In fact, her confidence even results in a description of her as “independent” (ibid.). During her conversation with Muhammad 230 Ali this impression of a strong female character is only deepened as she never portrays any inferiority to her male counterpart. This can be observed multiple times and in various forms. In the beginning of their conversation Miss Rehana does not shy away from using stylistic devices such as sarcasm which leaves Muhammad Ali uncertain of whether he is being taken seriously or not (cf. ibid.: 8). Furthermore, Miss Rehana shows that she is willing to defend herself and her honour without question, regardless of who is speaking to her which is exemplified after she has been informed about the accusations and prejudices the “Tuesday women” are usually associated with, and her immediate reaction is to “[protest]” (ibid.: 9). This strength of character is only underlined by her visible efforts to appear strong even during an intimidating conversation, as “[her] eyes remained steady, but her hands began to flutter” (ibid.). In addition to that, during the moral conflict that Muhammad Ali's offer poses for her, Rehana does not sway from her own moral principles and chooses to walk away without taking the old man's advice (cf. ibid.: 12). The climax of her characterisation as an independent female protagonist is reached at the end of her story, when it becomes clear that it was her own decision that resulted in a failure of the interview (cf. ibid.: 15). She clearly chose her own priorities and happiness over the arranged future her parents had chosen for her and over what society would have seen as the better option (cf. ibid.: 15-16). In conclusion, Miss Rehana may be regarded as a representative of a marginalised social group, but these circumstances do not prevent her from acting independently and prioritising her own happiness. 2.3 Binarism The final major concept of this short story has already been touched upon previously and will be analysed in more detail in the following sub-chapter. 'Binarism' in general refers to “opposition [in] the most extreme form of difference possible” (Ashcroft et al. 2007: 18). In a cultural context “binaries entail a violent hierarchy, in which one term of the opposition is always dominant (man over woman, birth over death, white over black)” (ibid.: 19) which results in the fact that the experiences of oppression in the field of postcolonialism and feminism have certain similarities. The theme of 'Binarism' is omnipresent on various levels in the short story “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies”. The short story itself is part of a collection of literary works by Salman Rushdie named 231 “East – West” which alludes to one of the most fundamental binary conceptions of (post-)colonialism. However, the theme of 'Binarism' is most strikingly presented in the character constellation of Miss Rehana and Muhammad Ali. Their portrayal as opposites starts with their outward appearances. Throughout the story Rehana is described as a stunningly beautiful and young woman, with “large and black and bright” (Rushdie: 5) eyes that captivate the people around her. Muhammad Ali on the other hand, is illustrated as an old, grey-haired man who specialises in fraud (cf. ibid.: 5-6). In addition to that, their character traits echo these binary appearances. Miss Rehana embodies various positive character traits as the analysis of her strength in character and principles has already shown. Moreover, her innocence, beauty, honesty and purity seem to influence the characters around her in positive ways; even “[the] lala, usually so rude to the Consulate's Tuesday women, answered Miss Rehana with something like courtesy” (ibid.: 5). Muhammad Ali also falls victim to her influence and strays from his usual pattern of deceptive behaviour. As has been mentioned before, Ali's occupation consists of tricking the Tuesday women into fraud, which he vaguely justifies by his own needs to survive (cf. ibid.: 10-12). His routine becomes clear during the conversation with Miss Rehana as he chooses his words carefully in order to engage the women before “[launching] into his set speech” (ibid.: 9). However, he does not accomplish tricking Rehana as her character exposes an honesty and helpfulness in him that he would not even reveal to his own children (cf. ibid.: 11). The precious opportunity of a false passport to London, which Ali sees as a “facilitation” (ibid.: 12) demonstrates the contrast between their characters, as Miss Rehana is not willing to commit a crime in order to move to London (cf. ibid.). This conflict of principles escalates into an argument and its resolution only reinforces the difference of perspective these two characters embody: while Muhammad Ali interprets her smile upon exiting the British Consulate as a successful acquisition of the necessary paperwork in order to migrate to Britain, Miss Rehana is happy because she has purposefully achieved the opposite (cf. ibid.: 13-16). Her definition of success is the opportunity to continue her independent life in her home country, despite what society might consider her best option. In conclusion, the content analysis has shown that the short story “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” presents some of the major themes of the postcolonial discourse. The concepts of 'Marginality', 'Feminism' and 'Binarism' are closely intertwined with each other and 232 thus, present an opportunity for an in-depth analysis even though the story itself is very limited regarding time, setting and characters. 3 Analysis from the Point of View of Teaching English as a Foreign Language Taking the preceding analysis of the postcolonial key concepts in the text into account, the following part of the term paper analyses to what extent Salman Rushdie’s short story “Good Advice is Rarer Than Rubies” is suitable for being taught in the German EFL classroom. Therefore, chances and challenges that could occur when teaching the short story are examined thoroughly. 3.1 Chances In terms of genre characteristics, “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” can be called a typical short story. It is limited not only in length, but also in terms of character constellation. Miss Rehana and Muhammad are the only two characters in focus, therefore, the plot is easily understandable. Apart from that, the location of the short story is constant (“the gates [in front] of the British Consulate”, Rushdie 1995: 5) and the narrated time is short, which additionally makes the story very accessible for learners. Especially in the Indian postcolonial context, there are a lot of texts that seem less suitable for being read in the EFL classroom because of the highly sensitive topics they address. “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” on the contrary does not deal with for example rape or extreme poverty, nor with similarly problematic subjects. Instead, the short story is marked by a certain positivity, coming mainly from the character of Miss Rehana. She is a protagonist full of optimism and innocence (ibid.: 9), which gives the story an overall positive touch, constituting its fairy tale like character. In many other texts, India “is reduced to a pitiful example of underdevelopment, poverty and hunger” (Woyth-Gutberlet 2009: 294). As these topics are not focussed on in “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies”, it can be used in the EFL classroom “[i]n order to overcome these stereotypes” (ibid.). Concerning Miss Rehana, the positivity she radiates is not the only benefit that defines her character. At the same time, she is a very strong female protagonist who dominates the story by clearly expressing her opinion and acting according to her own wishes as an independent Indian woman (“independent girl”, Rushdie 1995: 6). This is not very often the case in postcolonial Indian literature, as women are 233 often the ones being discriminated against by a patriarchal system (cf. Lindner 2010: 59; Wandel et al. 2007: 213). Her characterisation as a strong female protagonist is complemented with one of the major themes this short story addresses. Woyth-Gutberlet (2009) states that in EFL teaching, “one should choose texts which contain cultural concepts that are essential for understanding the target culture” (295). In “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies”, the custom of arranged marriage is portrayed very carefully and, even more importantly, represented from the perspective of a woman. In that respect, Rushdie’s short story sheds a very different light on the topic of arranged marriage as well as on Indian women in general, in comparison to manifold other literary texts belonging to this field. Thereby, the short story “create[s] opportunities to overcome negative stereotypes and to encounter Indian cultures and societies as equally worthy forms of life” (ibid.: 294) and makes “accessing and assessing cultural practises and meanings” (Wandel 2006: 89) easier, which can be considered as remarkable strengths of this text. Apart from the chances already mentioned, the topic of giving and receiving, of applying or refusing advice can be regarded as very beneficial for EFL learners. When dealing with the advice given by Muhammad and with the way Miss Rehana reacts to it, the students’ critical thinking can be fostered. They are most probably animated to think about their own experiences in terms of giving, receiving and dealing with advice and to critically reflect upon their own behaviour in these situations. “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” can therefore be dealt with in order to foster moral education in general. Especially in today’s German EFL classroom, Rushdie’s short story offers another very important benefit, namely the topic of migration. Germany has experienced a huge wave of immigration throughout the preceding years which has, apart from motivating a lot of people to work with immigrants and support them in making a living in Germany, made a lot of negative headlines as well. This development has strongly influenced the German society and shaped many people’s attitudes towards immigrants. Reading “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies”, students get the possibility to experience a protagonist’s perspective who is herself about to migrate. Miss Rehana is forced to move to England because of the marriage her parents have arranged for her when she was only a child. In the end, nevertheless, she willingly refuses to go to England and therefore acts according to her own wishes and dreams. Through this story, students learn about reasons 234 for and difficulties arising with migration and thus a Perspektivwechsel is made possible. One important general argument for working with short stories in class are the so-called “Widerstandsnester” (cf. Bredella 1990) they contain, which offer the opportunity of vivid discussions in class and involving students emotionally. When reading Rushdie’s short story, students may be especially encouraged to fill these gaps because “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” “seems to be particularly appropriate to initiate the intended processes, all the more as it evolves from a central conflict which is likely to be understandable for the students” (Woyth-Gutberlet 2009: 296). In addition to that, Rushdie himself suggested different possible endings of the short story which inherits the chance of dwelling on how texts change and can be changed when editing the ending. Especially in the Oberstufe, this allows enriching discussions about literature and the importance of words on a meta-level. (source) Considering all of the chances listed in the preceding analysis, one can conclude that using “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” enables a “teaching which focuses on intercultural learning and aims at an understanding of foreign cultures. An understanding of the others should imply accepting the other’s way of seeing themselves and the world as well as avoiding judging them by the standards of one’s own culture” (Woyth-Gutberlet 2009: 293). 3.2 Challenges Apart from the manifold chances the short story offers for being used in class, there are also several challenges one has to take into account when thinking about reading “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” with EFL learners. The first and most obvious difficulty is the language used in the story. Rushdie incorporates a variety of Hindu words (“babuji”:12; “’Salaam, advice wallah’”: 13; “ayah”: 15) which prevent a fluent reading process and which can even make it difficult for students to understand the story’s content. For this reason, one would definitely have to provide the students with vocabulary annotations, which causes a lot of additional work for teachers when preparing a teaching unit. 2 “Enabling the learners to comprehend the other’s as well as their own perspectives, to relate them to each other and to mediate between them should represent the focus of EFL teaching” (Woyth-Gutberlet 2009: 293). 235 In terms of content, one has to mention that if a teacher wants his students to understand the short story and the intention behind it, there is even more preparatory work to do since it is of essential importance to make them familiar with the concept of arranged marriage as well as to provide them with the necessary background information on Pakistan. This difficulty directly leads to a third and last striking challenge coming along with teaching “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” as a central text in the course of a teaching unit on India: It is not a typical Indian short story, since it is set in Pakistan. Therefore, the reading would have to be complemented by other Indian short stories. The reality of EFL teaching shows that there is often not enough time to analyse and interpret literary works in depth which is why one might want to select a short story that is more representative for this field of study. 3.3 An Appraisal Having thoroughly analysed benefits and disadvantages of reading and teaching “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies”, one can state that the benefits clearly outweigh the challenges, as possible solutions for overcoming these challenges have already been presented. Not only in terms of the general positive atmosphere and learner-friendly presentation of the setting, the story is convincing, but also when it comes to content and topics that can possibly be dealt with during a teaching unit that focuses on Rushdie’s short story. It can therefore clearly be claimed as suitable for the EFL classroom. Accordingly, the following chapter presents possible teaching activities that can be used when reading Rushdie’s short story in the course of a teaching unit on India. 4 Teaching Activities As the preceding analysis of chances and challenges of teaching Salman Rushdie’s short story “Good Advice is Rarer Than Rubies” has revealed, the short story can be considered appropriate for being read and dealt with in the EFL classroom. Therefore, the following chapter presents possible pre-, while- and post-reading activities which can serve as guiding tasks for students during a teaching unit on India. The decision of structuring the activities in pre-, while- and postreading activities has been made because of the current state of research concerning lessons on literature. Moving away from rational processes of text analysis, action- and production-oriented forms of working with texts have shifted the focus from the text itself to the 236 learners and their reading comprehension as well as their individual and emotional responses to the texts (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 2010: 62-63). This approach is called personal-response approach . 4.1 Pre-Reading Activity Wandel (2013) points to the fact that German EFL students are “not provided with material that suits and motivates them” (396) because many teachers neglect the use of modern media in the classroom. Therefore, a comic is shown on the smartboard in order to give the students a motivational input in the beginning of the teaching unit on “Good Advice is Rarer Than Rubies”. In the comic, which consists of three panels, a doctor is talking to a patient lying on a daybed. The scene reminds the viewer of a psychologist’s surgery. The first panel shows both, doctor and patient, and the patient says: “Help me, Dr. Badadvice. I keep having dreams where I fall off of tall buildings.” The second panel is a zoom-in on the doctor, answering: “I think you should follow your dreams.” The third one then zooms in on the patient, replying: “Wow, that’s some good advice.” Firstly, the students are asked to describe the comic. The teacher provides scaffolding by showing useful phrases and vocabulary for comic analysis on the smartboard in order to enable more students to talk about the comic. The description takes place in a plenum discussion. Afterwards, the teacher asks the students to define what good and bad advice is for them. This task can be fulfilled in a short thinkpair-share phase. Hence, this pre-reading activity prepares the students for the short story in terms of content as they think about the concept of advice and its possible negative or positive connotations. At the same time, this task ensures a fostering of their social and communicative competences, as the beginning of the lessons aims at involving every student. 4.2 While-Reading Activity According to Nünning and Surkamp (2010), the while-reading phase mainly fulfils two functions: guaranteeing the students’ understanding 3 For further reading on forms of dealing with literature in the classroom, see: Nünning & Surkamp (2010), Bredella, L. & Legutke, M. (Eds.). (1985). Schüleraktivierende Methoden im Fremdsprachenunterricht Englisch. Bochum: Kamp. as well as Weskamp, R. (1997). Postmoderne Literaturtheorien: Folgen und Möglichkeiten für den fremdsprachlichen Literaturunterricht auf der gymnasialen Oberstufe. PRAXIS des neusprachlichen Unterrichts, 44(4), 345-353. 237 of the text and encouraging them to actively read it again and engage in a dialogue with the text (cf. 74). Active reading can be fostered by demanding the students to reflect upon their impressions of the text and to articulate their personal reactions to the textual input (cf. ibid.). During this kind of while-reading activity the students’ active examination of the text and its content is ensured. The activity presented here, asks the students to read the text, which is split up into three excerpts, and create hypotheses about how the story continues after each of the given excerpts (see: Nünning & Surkamp 2010: 74). This way, it is assured that the students deal with the blanks mentioned in 3.1 and get personally involved during the reading process (cf. Woyth-Gutberlet 2009: 298). After the first excerpt (p. 5 l. 1 – p. 7 l. 13) is handed out, the students should read it on their own and then formulate a first thesis about what could happen next. As soon as they have noted down their ideas, they receive the second excerpt (p. 7 l. 14 – p. 10 l. 8) at the first ‘bus stop’. There, they wait for a partner in order to develop hypotheses together about how the story could continue after this excerpt. Having outlined their ideas in bullet points, the pairs deal with the third excerpt (p. 10 l. 9 – p. 13 l. 2) of the story, which they can receive at bus stop number two, and formulate a second hypothesis about the story’s continuation. The students work in pairs in order to actively engage in a dialogue with their classmates and thus construct more detailed hypotheses. Finally, every student receives the fourth and last excerpt (p. 13 l. 3 – p. 16 l. 3) of the short story and is asked to read its ending in order to ensure a complete reading of the whole short story. A plenum discussion can follow in order to give the students the possibility to formulate their thoughts: Has anything surprised them? Had they expected the story to end like this? 4.3 Post-Reading Activity Grimm, Meyer and Volkmann (2015) state that “[t]he post-reading phase provides space for creative activities, which center on the interests, knowledge, and competences of learners and motivate them to work individually or with others on palpable products” (p. 188). This goal can be pursued with the help of a task in which the students can refer back to their individual impressions and the findings they acquired during the reading process. The post-reading phase allows the students to creatively express their thoughts having been evoked while reading the story. Resuming their work of the while-reading phase, they are now asked to write a 238 possible sequel for the short story. They also have to consider the question of how Rehana thinks about the piece of advice she has been given by Muhammad. This post-reading activity establishes a frame with the while-reading activity and also refers back to what the students worked on in the pre-reading phase. Pre-Reading-Activity While-Reading-Activity Post-Reading- Activity Operationalisierte Aufgabenstellung Describe the comic. Define what good and bad advice is for you. Read the different excerpts of the short story. After each part, think about how the story could continue. Formulate the first hypothesis on your own. Then go to the bus stop to receive the next worksheet with the second excerpt. From now on, work with a partner you found at the bus stop. Bullet points are sufficient. Having read the whole short story, think about how it could continue and write a possible sequel of the story. Write at least 300 words. Also think about how Miss Rehana judges Muhammad’s piece of advice. Material/Medium Smartboard Comic Arbeitsblatt Kurzgeschichte inkl. Zeilen- und Vokabelangaben sowie Hilfslinien nach den einzelnen Abschnitten, auf denen die Hypothesen notiert werden können / Sozialform 1. Unterrichtsgespräch 2. Think-Pair-Share 1. Einzelarbeit 2. Partnerarbeit 1. Einzelarbeit Didaktisch- Methodischer Kommentar Am Smartboard wird sprachliche Unterstützung zur Beschreibung des Comics bereitgestellt (scaffolding). Mit Hilfe des „Bus stop- Systems“ wird sichergestellt, dass jede/r SuS eine/n Partner/in für den weiteren Verlauf der Auf- Dieser creativewriting-task ermöglicht dem Lernenden einen affektivempathischen Zu- 239 Der visuelle Impuls in Verbindung mit der Bildbeschreibung stimmt die SuS auf die Englischstunde ein und bereitet das Thema der Kurzgeschichte vor. Die kurzen Pair- und Share- Phasen aktivieren alle SuS sprachlich. gabenstellung bekommt, der/die das gleiche Arbeitstempo hat. Den SuS können Leitfragen in Form von Hilfskärtchen zur Differenzierung bereitgestellt werden. gang zum Thema der Kurzgeschichte. Sie kann als Hausaufgabe zur Nachbereitung dienen. 5 Conclusion The guiding question of this term paper was twofold: firstly, it aimed at analysing the short story “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” in respect of the representation of postcolonial key concepts before discussing its suitability for the EFL classroom. A thorough interpretation of the most dominant key concepts that are addressed in this story, namely 'Marginality', 'Feminism' and 'Binarism', showed that the limited length of the short story does not preclude it from an extensive level of depth in content. The dichotomies of gender roles, social expectations and perception of migration are portrayed with the juxtaposition of the two main characters. Especially the characterisation of Miss Rehana has proven to be a unique feature of this particular story, since she embodies various, usually negatively connoted concepts, as the marginalised female protagonist. Through confidence and the positive influence, she has on her surroundings, Miss Rehana overcomes the expectations her family and society have imposed on her and chooses her own happiness. This fundamental positivity that permeates Rushdie's short story can also be seen as one of the major advantages for its possible usage in the EFL classroom. Whereas a majority of postcolonial literary fiction explores highly sensitive topics that have to be introduced carefully before letting students engage with these texts. “A Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” exemplifies hope and the effect of free will. In addition to that, the general theme of receiving and giving advice entails a high level of Identifikationspotential as the students of the Sekundarstufe II are on the threshold of adulthood themselves, which means that they have to become able to critically reflect the advice of others and their own free choice. Nevertheless, this short story cannot 240 be effectively used in the EFL classroom without an introduction of the necessary background information, such as the history and situation of Pakistan or the concept of arranged marriages. Furthermore, it can also not be regarded as a literary text that offers a multitude of insights into the topics and themes that should be addressed while teaching India and thus needs to be complemented with other perspectives on Indian culture, religion and history. Further research on this topic could include designing a teaching unit on India in order to find sources that complement the concepts portrayed in “A Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” and would result in a realistic and holistic way of teaching India in the EFL classroom. In conclusion it can be said however, that teaching this particular short story has gained its popularity due to plausible reasons, as its chances outweigh the challenges substantially. Bibliography Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (1989). The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures in English. London: Taylor & Francis. Ashcroft B., Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (2007). Postcolonial Studies: The Key Concepts (2nd ed.). Routledge Key Guides. London: Routledge. Ashcroft B., Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (2013). Postcolonial Studies: The Key Concepts (3rd ed.). Routledge Key Guides. London: Routledge. Baldwin, D., & Quinn, P. (2007). 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Heidelberg: Winter. 242 “Hear Me Roar” – Saroo Brierley’s Lion in the EFL Classroom Carolin Bialecki 1 Introduction In his autobiographical novel Lion (2013), Saroo Brierley describes his life story between his home country, India, and his adoptive country, Australia. At the age of five, Brierley got lost on a train in India. Although he neither knew the name of his biological family, nor the exact location of his home, he survived for weeks on the streets of Kolkata, before he was adopted by an Australian family and left India. After living in Australia for years, he managed to find his hometown through studying Google Maps and was eventually reunited with his biological family. In its central core, the story of Brierley is symbolic of many similar fates in India. “Over 80,000 children go missing each year and there are over 11 million children living on the streets in India alone” (Patel in: Lang 2016), stated the leading actor Dev Patel of the motion picture version in an interview. One of the settings of Lion is India and through this setting the novel is in line with the relatively new tendency of German federal states to include the teaching of India in the new EFL curricula (cf. Wandel 2013: 287). Thus, Brierley’s novel can be used to address several cultural differences. Belonging to the genre of ‘Anglophone postcolonial literature’, Lion promotes the heterogeneity of the English culture (cf. Freitag & Gymnich 2005: 273) since it “offers a broad variety of themes and topics that familiarize the students with a fascinating culture and provide ample opportunities to incorporate aspects of intercultural learning, surely one of the major overreaching goals of the EFL syllabus” (Lindner 2010: 60). 243 In this term paper, it will be analyzed how Lion depicts the postcolonial key concepts of ‘Diaspora’ and ‘Liminality’. Additionally, it will be analyzed to what extent the novel Lion is suitable for the use in English lessons in a German EFL classroom. For this reason, the term paper is divided into three major parts. First, the novel is analyzed with regard to applicable postcolonial key concepts. These concepts will mainly be based on the works of Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin (2013). Second, Lion will be examined with regard to the challenges and chances the text presents to the EFL classroom in order to determine which aspects can be regarded as beneficial for the classroom. On top of that, it will be shown how problems that might occur when teaching of the novel can be overcome in order to ensure a better understanding of the text by the learners. Lastly, pre-, while-, and postreading activities, which can be used for teaching the novel, will be presented. 2 Postcolonial Key Concepts in the novel Lion The study of postcolonial literature refers to a broad variety of aspects and themes that are connected to the umbrella term ‘postcolonialism’, which is broadly outlined as the study of effects of colonialism on different cultures. Further, it has been a frequently changing term over the past years as it “has expanded and diversified in both its impact and its significance, in fields as varied as globalization, environmentalism, transnationalism, the sacred, and even economics” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: vii). Through applying the various key concepts formulated by Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin in their stories, postcolonial authors create an authentic postcolonial text, which gives (Western) readers the opportunity to experience a culture contrary to their own. Lion contains several of these key concepts, but only the most dominant ones relevant for the present text will be examined. However, in the case of Lion, it is important to keep in mind that the novel is rather written from the perspective of a Western educated man, only influenced by memories of his home country, since Brierley is very well accustomed to the Western culture, whereas the Indian culture has to be regarded as being alienated through faded memory. 2.1 Diaspora Webster’s Dictionary translates the Greek root diaspeirein of the word ‘Diaspora’ as ‘to scatter, to spread about’, and further refers to it as a ‘dispersion from’. In the last few decades, various attempts have been 244 made to study the phenomenon in considerable depth and to offer more encompassing definitions (Safran 1991, Cohen 1999, Brah 2006, Ashcroft et al. 2013). A frequently used recent definition describes ‘Diaspora’ as “the voluntary or forcible movement of peoples from their homelands into new regions” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 81). People affected by this diasporic movement can then respond through assimilation to the new culture or they withdraw from it as they live in some form of nostalgic memory shaped by their origins (cf. Safran 1991: 83). Thus, diasporic literature often addresses the topic of keeping or changing distinctive cultural features such as language, previous cultural habits, and identity, while living in another culture. In general, the ‘Diaspora’ of Brierley has to be considered under its sociocultural aspects. “This perspective addresses itself to the question of cultural identity and change following change of the national domicile of an individual” (Sharma 2004: 47) and helps to understand his assimilation to the new culture. Prior to Ashcroft’s definition, in order to overcome the blurriness of the term, Safran (1991) published a list of six key characteristics of ‘Diaspora’ as an effort to put some common characteristics of ‘Diaspora’ together which have to be regarded as an “attempt to construct a quite specific ideal-type [which] stressed the transnational character of diasporas, the symbolic and material importance […] of a homeland and a vision of eventual return to it” (Tsagarousianou 2004: 54-55). It further “introduced an array of other factors such as the perceived marginalization in the country of settlement experienced by members of a diasporic community” (ibid.). Some of these characteristics are also applicable to Brierley’s novel as will be shown. However, it is important to keep in mind that no ‘Diaspora’ is the same and that the key characteristics have to be understood as common features. First, and most obviously, Brierley “has been dispersed from a specific original ‘center’” (Safran 1991: 83). An adoption agency in his home country of India found him living on the streets, took him in and sent him overseas to an Australian couple. It is debatable if this was a voluntary or forcible movement. Additionally, he was not forced by colonizers to leave the country as he left India through childhood adoption because the agency decided that he would have a better life in Australia. So, he left, or more specifically, was sent from India with the hope of a better life. Nevertheless, he has been dispersed. Through his adoptive parents, he “retain[ed] a collective memory, vision, or myth about [his] original homeland” (ibid.). The adoptive family put effort in dec- 245 orating his room with Indian objects (cf. Brierley 2016: 7) and visited a befriended Indian family (cf. ibid.: 7) to help Saroo settle in but arguably also to remind him of his Indian heritage. Safran further argues that people affected by ‘Diaspora’ are not “accepted by their host society and therefore feel partly alienated and insulated from it” (Safran 1991: 83). In this regard, the novel differs immensely from Safran’s last observation since Brierley writes “I was growing up Australian – a proud Tassie” (Brierley 2016: 12). This only underlines how peculiar his ‘Diaspora’ is, since he, in fact, chose to ignore his Indian roots during his teenage years and fully assimilated to the Australian culture. He only begins to re-engage with his Indian roots through a student group in college (cf. ibid.: 115ff.). Sharma (2004) notes that Indian immigrants “remain Indian in their primary groups but act [Australian] in their secondary groups” (50), which is a possible explanation for Saroo’s behavior. The Indian students group functions as the primary group and opens the contact zone and through this contact, he begins to be committed to the next key characteristics formulated by Safran. “The word [diaspora] embodies a notion of a centre, a locus, a ‘home’ from where the diaspora occurs and evokes images of multiple journeys” (Brah 2006: 443), which eventually lead to the desire to return home (cf. Safran 1991: 83). This desire is met by Brierley as he begins to look for his hometown on Google Maps. Finally, he has an “idea of an eventual return to the original homeland” (ibid.), which he eventually experiences in the last chapter. 2.2 Liminality Liminal space is to be characterized as an “in-between space, a threshold area,” in which “cultural change may occur” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 145). More precisely, it describes “the transcultural space in which strategies for personal or communal self-hood may be elaborated, a region in which there is a continual process of movement and interchange between different states” (ibid.). According to Bhabha (cf. 1994: 4), a closely related term is ‘hybridity’ which “commonly refers to the creation of new transcultural forms within the contact zone” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 135). Bhabha (1994), further, argues that an “interstitial passage between fixed identifications opens up the possibility of a cultural hybridity that entertains difference without an assumed or imposed hierarchy” (4). Yet, Brierley is not really a hybrid character as he is not a “cross-breeding of two” cultures (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 135). On the contrary, he is between two cultures. The liminal aspects 246 of his character describe the “‘in-between’ space in which cultural change may occur: the transcultural space in which strategies for personal or communal self-hood may be elaborated, a region in between different states” (ibid.: 145). Just as the word ‘threshold’ suggests, Saroo is able to either cross the sill of a doorway or not representing either of his Indian or Australian identities. He grew up Australian, feels Australian as already pointed out above, and fully took on the Australian culture. “By the time I began high school, the map of India was still on my Wall, but I hardly noticed it next to my posters of the Red Hot Chili Peppers” (Brierley 2016: 112). However, he can also switch back to his Indian identity as he returns, e. g. “he felt at ease lying there” (ibid.: 235). 3 Analysis from the Point of View of Teaching English as a Foreign Language The second part of this analysis will focus on the possible chances, challenges and activities the novel Lion could offer as a teaching unit in the German EFL classroom. As the content analysis has shown, one of the most outstanding themes of the novel is the emotional subject matter. Teaching and dealing with a story, which involves topics as trauma and loss entail not only chances but also risks and challenges. These need to be looked at more closely in order to determine the novel’s suitability for the EFL classroom. 3.1 Chances Generally, it should be pointed out that one of the most emphasized goals of modern English foreign language classrooms is the development and fostering of the intercultural communicative competence (ICC) as well as the ability to change perspectives by giving insight into a different and foreign cultures. Through fostering these skills, the students are enabled to develop and reconsider their own perspective, which is regarded as a necessary condition for social behavior (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 2010: 27-28). Moreover, through providing a direct comparison of different cultures, the students are encouraged to “compare this world view [of the foreign culture] with their own and negotiate the two (Perspektivenwechsel, Perspektivenkoordiantion), leading to an ongoing comparison of horizons of expectations rather than such a blending of horizons” (Grimm et al. 2015: 158). Hence, through the concepts of Perspektivenwechsel and Fremdverstehen, students should be enabled to distinguish between their own and foreign culture as well as 247 to critically reflect upon them (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 2010: 29). Especially literary texts provide various benefits for learners as they enable them to experience instantly “how differently things look when you live in Bagdad or Benin rather than Berlin” (Young 2003: 2). Belonging to the relatively new genre of ‘Anglophone postcolonial literature’, the novel Lion meets the demands the “intercultural turn in foreign language teaching asks for” as it depicts “strange, ‘exotic’, unknown locations and characters”, giving the students the opportunity to “encounter with ‘the other’” (Wandel et. al. 2007: 209) and a different culture. Mostly, the students are confronted with the social structure of India. They get to know India through the eyes of a poor child and can compare these perceptions with those of the grown up Saroo. His descriptions offer a lot of material for units that focus on Landeskunde and various topics can be enlarged upon, e. g. different food, social class, geography, the different languages and religions. Lion further demonstrates the poverty of certain regions in India and provides opportunities to compare this to the situation in Germany/Australia. Moreover, the students gain insight into how people in India deal with poverty but are also confronted with situations in which Saroo depicts India as a rich country, e. g. his overnight stay in a hotel in Bombay right before his flight to Australia (Brierley 2016: 81), making them aware of India’s heterogeneity. As Mukherjee (2006) argues “the perhaps most characteristic feature of India is its complexity and heterogeneity. It is a country that is marked by a multitude of different cultures, religions and languages” (143). In Lion, the students are enabled to learn about the diversity of India and a number of cultural Indian phenomena through the eyes of the protagonist Saroo. Through comparing his perspective to other resources and maybe even own experiences in India, the students “gain the ability to recognize that many features of today’s world can be interpreted in different ways” (Eisenmann 2015: 224). Hence, the novel promotes intercultural awareness as it provides the students with the opportunity to experience things that are beyond their own everyday reality and that they would, therefore, never encounter in their daily lives (cf. Nünning 2001: 8). Eisenmann further argues that “to facilitate the development of transcultural awareness, literary texts should be selected which tell of the lives of (young) people from other cultures” (Eisenmann 2015: 224). Lion is autobiographical and therefore has a high degree of authenticity. However, belonging to the genre of autobiography, one has 248 to keep in mind that there is always some tension between authenticity and fiction. Nevertheless, the students are provided with various insights of living in India. Written from a first-person perspective the students can easily comprehend the protagonist’s feelings as they accompany Saroo through his experiences. This comprehension is fostered through the liminal character of Saroo. Although he is aware of what general Western perceptions of India are like, he is nevertheless very descriptive and makes the difference through direct comparisons between the Australian and Indian culture visible to the readers (cf. e.g. Brierley 2016: 85f.), which, in turn, supports the student’s cultural awareness as it helps them to imagine and understand the customs of the foreign country. The fact that he writes from the perspective of a Western educated man makes it stylistically easier for the students to identify with the character of Saroo as he also describes processes that are not unknown to the students. Hence, through the accessibility of main character, the novel can be regarded as a story with a high Identifikationspotential. Moreover, “the most important ingredients in a literature EFL classroom are surely interest and enthusiasm on the part of reader and the literary worth of the text” (Bland 2012: 205), which is definitely fostered through identification with Saroo. Even if his experiences are completely alien to the students, they should be enabled to relate to his experiences (cf. Ahrens 2012: 186). Furthermore, reading Lion is “a gateway to a third place” (Grimm et al. 2015: 183). The suggestion of this concept was coined by Kramsch (1993: 233-253), who argues that it “includes a mix of positions in the interest of personal and socio-cultural transformation in line with a power-critical and democratic agenda” (Delanoy 2012: 160). The analysis of the postcolonial key concept of ‘Liminality’ has shown that Brierley is also in a position in which he is “motivated to take over perspective from others” (Grimm et al. 2015: 183). This becomes very obvious when he returns to India as a grown man and experiences his home country as a Western person (cf. Brierley 2016: 165f.). Lastly, the novel is easy to comprehend, and the writing style is simplistic. The students are neither overwhelmed by long and complex sentences, nor should the vocabulary be beyond their level of understanding. Additionally, there is a movie adaption which can be used to draw comparisons between certain scenes. 249 3.2 Challenges “As important as it certainly appears for the EFL classroom, the approach of transcultural learning and global education carries a number of problematic aspects” (Grimm et al. 2015: 164). Firstly, “it is the challenge of […] intercultural learning, when students of another culture are asked to acquaint themselves with the conditions of life in another country” (Ahrens 2012: 186). The conditions described in Lion are to be classified as sensitive regarding their content. Some of the students might be put off by the experiences Brierley shares. Dealing with this sort of immense trauma and feelings of loss could turn out to be a great challenge for the German EFL classroom, especially since the trauma presents itself on various levels. Firstly, and most obviously, the novel deals with the trauma of getting lost and losing one’s family. Secondly, the students learn about the harshness of living in India as a poor person. Various instances outline what it is like to be hungry (e.g. Brierley 2016: 18, 23, 50). Separated from his family, Saroo has to take care of himself and has to make various escapes and encounters dangerous strangers (cf. e.g. ibid.: 40). On top of that, Brierley writes about sexual abuse, specifically mentioning the abuse of his adoptive brother (cf. e.g. ibid.: 40). Hence, it is very vividly described what kind of fears the author and narrator went through (cf. e.g. ibid.: 30-31) and these emotions might trigger affective responses of some of the students. For example, one of the students might have actually lost a next of kin. Therefore, one needs to check beforehand if the students of the class are able to emotionally deal with the content of the novel. However, these obstacles can be tackled by avoiding an affective approach in the post-reading phase and focusing on rather thematic guided teaching units and factual knowledge tasks. A challenging chance of this novel is the dealing with the postcolonial key concepts since they are not completely obvious at all times. Brierley’s ‘Diaspora’ cannot be regarded as a ‘classic’ postcolonial ‘Diaspora’ as he is not influenced by colonizers, however, one could use this fact and discuss with the students how the term has evolved over time. Moreover, the analysis of the concept before has shown that central characteristics for a ‘Diaspora’ are applicable in this case. Therefore, one could use the example of Brierley’s ‘Diaspora’ to point out how and why the term has altered over the last years including the recent reasons for ‘Displacement’, which have not necessarily been influenced by colonialism (cf. Ashcroft et al. 2013: 87). In this regard, Alam (2013) points out that “in the first phase of Indian Eng- 250 lish fiction, its writers were nearly all rooted in the Indian subcontinent […]. In the second phase of Indian English writing, however, quite a few writers began to make the life of diasporic Indians their main subjects” (247). He further elaborates this observation and points out that most of these Indians “live as outsiders in their adopted lands, unable or unwilling to adapt in the country they have moved to, but doggedly staying on there instead of returning home to their homelands” (ibid.). Lion, however, belongs to a group of novels heralding a new era that is “coping with acculturation [and] moving towards assimilation in the West” and “written from an intense desire to overcome feelings of aloofness, trauma and loss incurred in diasporas” (ibid. 248). Yet, one has to consider that “the issues and problems of the Indian diaspora in [Australia] are not the same as the social and cultural features of ‘India proper’” (Wandel 2013: 388-89). Thus, the students gain a one-dimensional view of life in India. Therefore, it is important to point the students’ awareness to the direction that Saroo’s diasporic life is strongly influenced by his life in Australia, “rather than of the ‘real India’” (ibid.) as they get to experience Indian culture mainly through his memory. 4 Teaching Activities The following part provides self-created pre-, while-, and post-reading activities, which could be used for teaching a unit of Lion. In order to enhance the students’ processes of comprehension and construction of meaning regarding the content and cultural chances, the lesson is subdivided in the above-mentioned parts. This tripartite structure aims at fostering the interaction of the students with the text (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 2010: 71). The students will be supported during the different stages of their reading process in terms of knowledge, comprehension, and interpretation (cf. ibid.). 4.1 Pre-Reading-Activity As pointed out above in the section on chances, the novel is written in a rather uncomplicated writing style, therefore a linguistic Vorentlastung is not deemed necessary. Instead, motivating the students and providing them with knowledge (cf. ibid.: 72) about railway children are the main learning goals of this thematic introductory task. As shown in the challenges, one of the major challenges is the sensitive content of the novel. In regard to this task, the topic of trauma and loss is supposed to be made accessible on a topic-related basis. The students are 251 asked to read an informative text that is written by the organization Railway Children and outline its main facts. Hence, the students are confronted with the topic on a factual level as they gain factual knowledge about India’s railway system and children who got lost in it through reading the text. This ensures that the students are prepared for the content of the novel before reading it and that they can deal with the challenges of loss, poverty and trauma without affective associations. However, it has to be pointed out that the case of Saroo differs in one aspect compared to the railway children as he did not leave his home voluntarily. Yet, the text is still comparable to Saroo’s situation. It provides an insight to the life on the streets and strengthens the authenticity of the novel as the task shows that Brierley describes realistic circumstances. Thus, in the ongoing reading process, the students should be enabled to take over the perspective of Saroo with greater ease. The text is directly adapted from the online source and vocabulary that might be unknown to the students is provided at the bottom of the sheet. Further, the students are supposed to organize their findings in a mind map, which is printed on the sheet as well. For all intents and purposes, a mind map is supposed to help the students to present their findings in class. Additionally, it preserves their newly gained knowledge. 4.2 While-Reading-Activity The while-reading activity is supposed to secure the students’ comprehension of the text (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 2010: 74). The task used here aims at fostering active reading through looking at certain aspects (cf. ibid.: 75). Firstly, the students are asked to read the passage on page 85 l. 21 to page 88 l. 7 and point out how India and Australia are described. This part is supposed to be completed on one’s own. For the second task, they are supposed to team up with their neighbor and compare their findings. Lastly, they are supposed to write down their findings. A table is provided on the working sheet which is supposed to function as a comprehensible overview for the students. The given extract offers various elements the students can focus on and through comparing their findings they are able to learn from their partner’s insights as they might have focused on different aspects. Hence, through close reading, they will gain in-depth understanding of the text and it will be easier for them to pay more attention to the differences of living in the two different cultures. This task 252 will help the students to understand the differences between themselves, their country and people from other countries. As Australia is a Western country, it is not far away from the Lebenswirklichkeit of the German students. Therefore, they should be able to identify with the description of Australia. The second part of the task aims at ensuring that each student comprehends the text and fosters their communicative skills. Communicative, reading, as well as social competences will be fostered by the close reading and the following partner work. 4.3 Post-Reading-Activity The purpose of the post-reading activity is to provide the students with the goal “den durchlaufenen Erkenntnisweg nachzuvollziehen, die im Verlauf der Textarbeit gewonnenen Einsichten umzusetzen […] [und] auf überindividuelle Probleme anzuwenden” (Caspari 1997: 45). Usually, one might be tempted to have the students rewrite certain passages, e. g. writing about the reunion from the perspective of Saroo’s birth mother. However, as pointed out in the section on challenges, affective tasks dealing with the trauma of Saroo’s loss should be avoided if possible. The while-reading activity already focuses on the differences between Australia and India, but here the students read about them through the eyes of ‘young’ Saroo. Of course, this is relative because the whole novel has been written by the adult Saroo Brierley. However, one could argue that there is perceptible progression in the text as other elements are stressed while he describes his youth. The postreading activity focuses on the perceptions of the grown up Saroo. The students are asked to analyze how Saroo reacts to his new environments in India after his return (cf. Brierley 2016: 165f.). This task aims at fostering the cultural awareness of the students as well as their ability of taking over a Perspektivenidentifikation. Moreover, it raises the students’ awareness of their own subjectivity, relativity of their own perceptions and encourages them to see beyond their own experiences (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 2010: 28) and further to the subjectivity of the novel. 253 Pre-Reading- Activity While-Reading- Activity Post-Reading-Activity Operationalisierte Aufgabenstellung Read the statements of the organization Railway Children below. Outline the main facts the organization raises awareness to and write down your findings in the mindmap. Read the passage on page 85 l. 21 – page 88 l. 7. Point out how Saroo describes Australia and India. Write down your findings. Compare your findings with your neighbor. Write down your findings in key words. Analyze how Saroo reacts to his new environments in India after his return (pp. 165f.) Material/ Medium Arbeitsblatt: Mind- Map für den zweiten Teil der Aufgabe ist vorgeben Arbeitsblatt: Tabelle ist vorgegeben SuS sollen Text im Heft verfassen Sozialform Einzelarbeit Einzelarbeit /Partnerarbeit Einzelarbeit Didaktisch- Methodischer Kommentar Über den thematischen Einstieg soll den SuS der Zugang zu dem Roman erleichtert und die Lesemotivation gefördert werden. Fördert den aktiven Leseprozess und macht auf Unterschiede zwischen den Kulturen aufmerksam. Analytische Fähigkeiten werden gefördert: SuS setzen sich intensiv mit Saroos Reaktionen auseinander, wodurch eine Personenidentifikation ermöglicht wird. 5 Conclusion The guiding question of this term paper aimed at analyzing the novel Lion by Saroo Brierley in order to determine its suitability for the German EFL classroom. This was done by an analysis of the postcolonial key concepts in the first part and a focus on the teaching perspective in the second part. First of all, the most striking postcolonial key concepts of ‘Diaspora’, ‘Displacement’, and ‘Liminality’ were analyzed. It was pointed out that even though Lion is written from the perspective of a Westerner, the characteristics of the key concepts are still applicable. Through engaging with the novel, the students gain insights about living in India and its culture. However, the insights are limited by the author’s perspective. Nevertheless, utilizing the novel in the EFL classroom not only conveys regional knowledge to the students, but further helps to achieve important learning objectives such 254 as intercultural competence and understanding of other cultures (cf. Freitag & Gymnich 2005: 259). In the second part, the postcolonial key concepts were taken into account and their significance in the chances and challenges was pointed out. Promoting a change of perspective and transcultural awareness were pointed out as the major chances of the novel. Through the consistent comparison of life in Australia to India, the students gain new insights about living in India. Moreover, students can still identify with the protagonist and have an easy access to the novel through the simple language. Overall, through its broad issues, a variety of topics can be covered and worked on by the students separately. The greatest challenge of the novel is that it is not written by a ‘proper Indian’ but a man who grew up in Australia. However, this can be seen as beneficial since it will be easier to identify oneself in Westernized parts of the world and eases the clash of cultures. Furthermore, the novel provides the opportunity to reflect closely on diasporic literature and shows a great example of assimilation. A challenge related to this, is that the postcolonial issues are not always immediately clear but still evident. However, it has been argued that one could use this as an advantage and show, for example, how the term ‘Diaspora’ has changed over time. Further, the novel deals with a drastic representation of loss, poverty, and trauma. This can be tackled through thematic related tasks instead of affective tasks. The pre-, while- and post-reading activities presented in the last part of the analysis tried to overcome the challenges mentioned while making use of the advantages of the novel. These presented tasks only cover a segment of the possible teaching units as their focus is on Landeskunde and Personenidentifikation. A great variety of tasks is needed to cover different aspects such as Perspektivenwechsel and enhancing the students’ cultural awareness. Overall, the novel is still suitable for the EFL classroom as it has been shown that the challenges of teaching the novel can be overcome. 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The 21st century has seen a growing importance of India in foreign language education. Not only has globalisation led to a reshaping of life in India itself, but, on a global scale, the enlarging Indian diaspora has resulted in a spreading and reflection of Indian (diasporic) experiences in economy, literature and (pop)culture. This anthology provides perspectives of how to read and teach these ‘faces’ of postcolonial India. Thereby, it focusses on a variety of literary texts worth implementing in teaching units. The articles take the perspective of literary and cultural studies as base and aim at interconnecting it to major concepts and theories of teaching literature and culture. Finally, it is the aim of this anthology to provide ideas of how to actively teach the different ‘faces’ of postcolonial India in the (advanced) intercultural EFL classroom.