Being an immigrant and raising a family in a different culture can be very difficult and complicated for many people. To grow up and learn about your culture and suddenly have to integrate into a new culture is very challenging and confusing. You will experience identity crisis in your life and development. It is difficult to understand where you stand as a person. You have to balance your culture with the new culture on your own.
If we take the two short stories, My son the fanatic and free for all, as examples. Both show us a picture of what an immigrant family looks like. One is more integrated and westernized than the other one. It can be due to the father having a higher education and more successful job, so that it is easier for them to adopt themselves into the cultural and economic system of the western countries. But even so, you will learn that both struggle with their own identity and are having a difficult time to let go of their culture. Whatever they do, there will always be a situation where their values will come in a conflict with each other.
Ali seems like a young man who struggles to fit in with his friends and is confused about his own identity. It can be a bit burdensome to bear two different expectation of your life, choices and actions. Your friends and your family may have different expectation on how you behave or act. In the story “Free for all”, the father seems like he has integrated into the new environment well. But soon he begins to realise that the western parenting doesn’t work on his son and he is not given the respect as a parent. He then decides to punish him the way a west Asian parent would do. His punishment has a lot of consequences because it goes against the country’s law.
Changing takes a lot of courage and risk. You want to fit into the new society but also keep your culture at the same time. Sometimes it can be very hard to keep your tradition because what your culture values can come in conflict with what the new society values. Some of us have no problems to fit in, but others find it difficult because there will always be a missing piece that can’t be replaced.