What is the theme of A K Ramanujan's poem "Extended Family?"

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In my opinion, the theme of "Extended Family" by AK Ramanujan is the deep conflict within himself at the contrast between the old and the new and perhaps a bit of fear of the future. The author was writing poetry at the end of the British rule in India, and the world he started with is not the world that is coming in which he will now live.  Anyone facing that kind of change is often nostalgic for the old ways simply because it is hard to learn new ways.  He juxtaposes the idea of the "naked Chicago bulb" with the "Vedic sun" as well as the "dry chlorine water" being his "only Ganges"  which both illustrate him comparing the new of Chicago and the old of India. He also says that his future is dependent on "several people yet to come"  which can be a really scary thought. I do think he does a great job of helping a reader see his inner conflict with the images he uses.