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Response to a Personal Narrative on Arranged Marriage Essay

Should your family and cultural background determine who you love? How about who you marry? Sarita James is a South Indian young woman who wrote a personal narrative titled “ let me find my own husband’’. In this story she recounts the pressures placed on her by her family to find a “suitable boy” for marriage.

“Suitable boy” states Sarita is a term used by Indian families to describe a strong family candidate- someone who comes from the right religion, region, community, and family background. Within my circle of American born-cousins, however, we used the term to tease each other about our parents’ marriage schemes.

Arranged marriage is not a romantic ideal. I feel a person’s background or upbringing should not have such a profound effect on whether or not this person is compatible for you. How can you marry someone solely on the basis that they go to the same church as you? Or are members of the same country club?

In addition, Sarita says,” our family is both Indian and Catholic. Which was a rarity anywhere and yet I did not want to marry him. I found him to be boring and close minded-he read very little, and claimed he could never have a gay friend. He also did not see why Indian wedding dowries were problematic. I felt my family’s quiet pressure in his presence. I questioned his perennial attendance at our gatherings. “Do you think we could have just the family visit for Thanksgiving this year?” I asked my mother after two years of his visits. Sarita‘s mother would say, “But he’s a bachelor “she would say. “It’s our duty to host him”. After that he came again.

Most of the time in regard to marriage, our concepts are of “romantic love”. I feel how he can really love you if your family has to pay his family for him to marry you! I don’t think you should marry someone you barely know. How do you commit yourself to someone your family chose for you as a partner?

Sarita recalls feeling a deep emptiness she could not explain… she cared for him but was not in love with him. Sarita knew her vision for their shared future had been naively optimistic. The “suitable boy’s family had accepted a dowry. He was supposed to marry someone else. What hurt most she realized, was the broken trust she had in her parents guidance.

Sarita’s parents tended to overprotect and control her. They were denying her of her every wish, even the right to select her own spouse. I think Sarita felt too much pressure from her family. I find it unacceptable to put pressure on a couple involved. Often both partners are reliant on the parents who want them to take part in an arranged marriage for their futures as well as current welfare In conclusion, cultures such as India have had arranged marriages since the beginning of time. In America we have the freedom to make our own decisions on who we marry. Americans would not easily accept the practice of their parents having that much of an influence on who we decide to spend the rest of our lives with.


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