In The Management of Grief by Mukherjee, why is Shalia struggling with her identity?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that Shaila is struggling with her identity because she has been placed in a situation for which there is no handbook or guide to follow.  The entire notion of "the management of grief" is one in which Shaila realizes that her notions of identity as defined by culture and religion are not entirely equipped to address the pain she endures.  There is the obvious loss of her husband and her children, as well as the pain she feels about why this has happened.  Struggling with how to mourn and how to live, Shaila struggles with her identity because she has one foot in the West and the other one in the East.  In their own singular representations of the identity- based good through culture, both are lacking.  Shaila comes to realize this.  Both do not provide the solace that can help her. It is for this reason that she struggles with her identity as one defined by culture.  Instead, Shaila must seek to construct an identity with aspects from each culture that can help her find the inner sense of peace that she requires in dealing with such a painful reality.  In this, there is struggle for Shaila must break free of the idea that singular cultural notions of the good can provide the answer without questioning and reflection.  In this construction, there is struggle, something that she recognizes at the end of the narrative.

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The Management of Grief

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