What are the associated conflicts? Provide two in the story and elaborate.

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In this story, an Indian woman named Shaila Bhave loses her sons and husband when a bomb explodes the plane on which they are flying. As Shaila copes with her loss, she is forced to deal with the culture clash in two directions, creating an associated conflict: neither fully Indian any more nor fully Canadian, she finds herself torn between the two cultures. She clashes with Western culture, but she also is not at home in India. 

Western culture is represented in Judith Templeton, a young social worker with blond hair and blue eyes who comes to offer grief counseling to the many Indians who have lost family members on the plane. She admits she doesn't know how to cope with a disaster of this magnitude, and has, as she says, no experience with the "complications of culture, language, and customs." She asks Shaila for help because Shaila has been described as calm and strong, "a pillar."  Shaila, however, has a negative reaction to Judith labeling some of the wives who have lost husbands "hysterical." Shaila knows that the good behavior Judith sees in Shaila through the lens of Western culture would be seen as strange through the lens of Indian culture, and that what Judith sees as "hysterical" would be seen as normal grieving in India  "I am a freak," Shaila says, because she is not reacting to death as an Indian ought to. Later, Shaila perceives that her family surrounds her in spirit, as in an 'epic.' Judith has no way to grasp this aspect of Indian culture in which the spirits of the dead commune with the living, and Shaila has no way to communicate to Judith that she is fine--that her life is "thrilling"--as Judith worries because Shaila is not working.

But just as Shaila has had to deal with the culture clash with the West, as represented by Judith, when she returns to India for the funeral she experiences a different kind of culture clash. Her parents want her to stay in India, not return to Canada:

 "I am trapped between two modes of knowledge," Shaila thinks. "I am too old to start over and to young to give up. Like my husband's spirit, I flutter between worlds."

Indian culture offers her both her parents' extreme rationalism and its "Vedic rituals." Shaila is not wholly at home with either one. The Indian men who have become widowers from the plane's destruction also have to cope with culture shock as their families arrange marriages for them: "In a month they will have buried one family and returned to Canada with a new bride and partial family." 

While Shaila makes her "offering of flowers and sweetmeats" to an animist god in Himalaya, her husband appears to her in spirit. She asks him if should stay in India and he tells her, before disappearing, that she should finish what they had begun. Her parents don't believe in spirits, but since she does, she returns to Canada.

Caught between two cultures, Shaila continues to commune with the spirits of her dead family while living in Canada. Her moment of truth comes when she refuses to be a bridge between Western culture and Indian culture for Judith. She won't continue to visit grieving families and try to "translate" between them and Judith, as she realizes it is impossible. As Shaila accepts that she is part of two cultures that can't really speak to each other, she gains self acceptance. She is neither fully Indian, nor fully Western. She is her own person. When she embraces this identity, the spirits of her family leave her and she can move on, finishing the work she and her husband began of forging new lives. 

Read the study guide:
The Management of Grief

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