Going Ashore highlights the story of Hema and Kaushik who meet in Rome after a long period. Hema has a study grant and visiting lectureship in Rome, while Kaushik is on vacation in line with his award as a brilliant photojournalist. Kaushik does not care about his Indian origin and has fully adopted the Western culture. His Indian beliefs have changed over time, and he believes that his origins are irrelevant for being a photojournalist. On the other hand, Hema’s parents are extremely conservative and fully stick to their Indian cultural values. Hema’s parents arrange a marriage between her and Navin in Calcutta. Navin accepts a teaching position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology implying that he would live in Massachusetts together with his wife, Hema, after return from Rome. In Rome, Hema finds it difficult to reunite with Kaushik, as she is not able to set aside the expectations that her parents impose on her. Thus, she is forced to live according to the old Indian cultural beliefs that require one to get married to a chosen husband without making any other choice. The ultimate separation with Kaushik brings about consequences that are more painful. The new culture is a concept used to refer to the Western culture. Individuals immigrating into America and other European countries find it difficult to choose between their own and new culture. Research indicates that new culture is significant because it promotes the freedom of women in society, it focuses on the future, it has progressive values, and promotes accommodativeness among individuals. For instance, Hema finds it difficult to choose between Kaushik, who exhibits new culture and Navin who exhibits different and original culture.

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This paper explicates different aspects relating to the new culture in line with the story Going Ashore by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Women’s Freedom

According to research, new culture gives women more freedom to choose what they want in life. Young women are not limited to the decisions of their parents as asserted by their culture. It is worth noting that new culture gives women more freedom to operate effectively in society and makes personal choices instead of sticking to the choices imposed upon them by their parents. For instance, Hema is not able to live according to her own choice when it comes to the issue of marriage. She has to marry Navin as her parents choose him (Tobar 45). She cannot reunite with Kaushik while in Rome due to the fear that she would break the cultural covenant and the wishes of her parents. It is not present in the new culture as women have more freedom to make choices pertaining to whom they would wish to marry. The new culture is more desirable because it does not determine the destiny of the individual; it would depend on the individual to make it better. Notably, conservatism is not a desirable aspect in the contemporary world and people always have to ensure that everyone in society has the right to live in accordance with his/her interests as long as they satisfy him. Hema would have been free to make a choice to reunite with Kaushik if she had adopted the new culture. She would not have feared the consequences of not honoring the choice already made by her parents. She would have been more comfortable to go back to Kaushik and live a happier life. Therefore, new culture is more desirable because it guarantees the women’s right to make personal choices including marriage choices (Purdy). Parents do not choose couples for their daughters, but they make individual choices according to their likes.

Focus on the Future

New culture has immense focus on the future. It is not limited to conservative ideas that have been in use since time immemorial. It is worth noting that new culture is more progressive and looks forward to a better generation with more focus and ambitions. It projects future developments among all individuals including women. New culture is also an instrumental tool for prosperity, as it does not assert unreasonable cultural roles among individuals. Research indicates that new culture has immense focus on the future and does this through the introduction of progressive ideas among individuals (Alba and Nee 23). For instance, new culture boosts the Kaushik’s ambition to become one of the most significant photojournalists. He earns an award and goes to Rome for a vacation where he also meets Hema that had come for an academic trip. New culture aims at educating both boys and girls to ensure they have a bright future that would help in development of the country. Hema was also able to attend school and become a professor courtesy of the new culture. It could not have been possible without the new culture, which is based on effective education of both boys and girls in society. The new culture’s focus on the future is instrumental in ensuring the entire society progresses. There are no excuses for the lack of development in line with the new culture as it presents more open opportunities for all individuals. Therefore, new culture has progressive ideas that focus on the future, and one can predict the future under new culture (Singh and Gopal 44). New culture remains a vital spice for significant development and the realization of goal among all people in society.

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Progressive Values

Values form the basis of any society at different ages. It is vital to note that every society can grow and achieve its goals only if its values are progressive and match the current trends and technologies (Rubin and Melnick 65). The decision of Hema’s parents to choose Navin as her husband is not indicative of progressive practices and societal values. It is indicative of a culture where one acts in line with the pressures of society and parents. The values in the new culture are not fixed, but keep on changing according to changes in time and periods over the years. It implies that people can function appropriately in the new culture because of the evolving values. Progressive values in the new culture also ensure that new forms of behavior are introduced, and everyone is given the opportunity for self-determination in society. It does not limit the opportunities of individuals in society, but allows them to work in line with the progressive values to achieve their set targets (Griswold). For instance, young women can remain disciplined as they work in line with the progressive values. The progressive values in the new culture are more desirable and can be altered easily if a loophole is discovered. If Hema and her parents lived in the ways of the new culture, they would not have chosen for her Navin as her husband. Hema would have been required to choose her own husband and present them to her parents at the most appropriate time as she deemed.

New culture is more effective as it does not impose values against individuals, but makes them for the good of everyone. Its progressive values tend to fight the imposition of unrealistic and undesirable principles upon societal members. Progressive values ensure that the entire society grows in line with realistic standards, which are acceptable by the majority of members.

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Cultural accommodativeness can only be realized through the new culture. It is asserted that it was difficult for Kaushik and his family to live with Hema’s family because of the conservative nature of Hema’s family. Kaushik’s family is able to interact freely with Hema’s family due to its belief in equality among all individuals. New culture ensures that equality is upheld, and everyone is accommodated effectively in society. Accommodativeness among individuals ensures that tolerance is upheld, and all cultural goals can be attained effectively. Cultural accommodativeness also promotes peaceful associations among individuals as they identify themselves as one community with a common destiny. New culture does not recognize the past cultural differences among individuals, but it recognizes an ideal society where all individuals live as a single unit (Miller 78). For instance, Hema could not have felt what she felt about the identity of Kaushik if she had embraced the new culture. She would not have held perceptions implying that Kaushik and his family are not compliant with the rules and regulations of her culture if she had embraced the new culture. She would be more accommodative if she could have reasoned in line with the new culture.


The new culture is the shortest way to acquire independence and stay away from local practices that seem to promote what is not desirable in society With new culture, everyone is independent in society and can make decisions pertaining to work and other significant operations in society. For instance, Hema was more independent and could mingle easily with Kaushik while she was in Rome. It implies that the new culture makes one more independent in society and does not restrict the people whom he/she mingles with. Her old culture could not have allowed her to mingle freely with Kaushik while she was in Rome because of the belief that she already has a selected husband. Independence in the new culture is also seen in terms of making the appropriate decision in life. New culture grants all individuals independence and ensures that they can choose what they prefer without any limitations (National Association for Education of Young Children). New culture is independent of any prejudices against other cultures that are deemed not to be operating in line with common principles. It is vital to note that new culture makes individuals more open -minded and enables them to be more receptive to independent ideas in society. The independence asserted by the new culture ensures that there is effective progress among all individuals in society. It does not choose sections that have to develop, but bases on the development of each individual. Therefore, new culture is a tool of an independent society where people can make decisions without the perception that they are breaking conservative cultural rules and regulations. In line with this, new culture is more acceptable and should be embraced.


In conclusion, new culture indicates an awakening and the deviation from old existing systems, which have been used in society for a long period. The story Going Ashore highlights the story of Hema who is still conservative and upholds her Indian culture and Kaushik who thinks his photographing career does not need an identity. Hema finds it difficult to reunite with Kaushik while they are in Rome because her parents have already chosen Navin to be her husband, and scheduled the wedding in Calcutta. The marriage arrangements are complete, and the couple would apparently live in Massachusetts. New culture is a vital source of women freedom and liberation. It ensures thy can make appropriate choices according to what they deem right and not what their parents deem right. Additionally, new culture has an enormous focus on the future. It is always aimed at ensuring that every person in society accesses relevant education and works effectively toward achievement for a bright future. New culture ensures there is accommodativeness among individuals. With the new culture, ill feelings concerning deviation from common old norms would disappear, and people would accommodate each other effectively. It is worth noting that new culture upholds progressive values. It does not operate with values that are not prone to change. It works in line with the changing society and introduces new values that would promote significant development. Independence and reunion can also be realized through the new culture. People can be more independent in their actions and interactions through exhibiting the values of the new culture, rather than sticking to old systems of the different culture.

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