Cultural Immrsion Essay

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And not only does Key West talk the talk, it walks the walk, remaining one of the major places in America to celebrate diversity, open-mindedness, and compassion.

The high season in Key West is January or February, but my character goes there at the height of summer. The advantages to this are that the island is not crowded and everything is cheaper.

I rode my bicycle around my little town, seeing the world through Asher’s eyes.

One afternoon I went into a gas station and saw a state trooper in line.

Back home, I had a subscription to the Key West newspaper, read its history, and did phone interviews with folks who live there.

Most importantly, I climbed into the skin of my characters.Since Bengal is a part of India, its culture has been an amalgamation of predominant Hindu culture with the secular Bengali culture drawing inspiration from contemporary Western sources.The Bengali language boasts a rich literary heritage, shared with neighbouring Bangladesh.The disadvantages are that insects can be legion and the heat is thick as curtains. For scenes when my character was working outside during the hottest part of the day, so did I, in heat so thick I could feel it in my mouth when I breathed.For scenes where the violent storms of summer brewed green clouds and released earth-shaking thunder and startling lightning, I rode my scooter or bicycle through the torrents because that’s what my character would be doing. I learned how sudden and dramatic the summer storms can be, how quickly the streets flood.Once I knew why he had kidnapped his son — to get him away from a mother and a church intent on teaching him that judgment trumps compassion, particularly around issues of gay equality — it made perfect sense to set most of the novel in a community that has long been known for embracing those who are ostracized in the larger culture.Key West is a place where the town motto, “One Human Family," is stamped into the sidewalks and onto free bumper stickers given away at the Visitors Center.West Bengal has a long tradition in folk literature, evidenced by the Charyapada, Mangalkavya, Shreekrishna Kirtana, Thakurmar Jhuli, and stories related to Gopal Bhar.Coupled with social reforms led by Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Vivekananda, and others, this constituted a major part of the Bengal Renaissance.I loved the way the locals came outside to watch the pavement steam once the deluge has passed.Once I spied a couple dancing together on their porch during this hushed time.


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