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America for Beginners


A poignant debut that explores unlikely friendships forged in unusual ...
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How do you feel about Rebecca's sadness and struggles compared to the other characters in the book? What does she stand to learn from the journey?

Created: 07/26/19

Replies: 8

Posted Jul. 26, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2754

How do you feel about Rebecca's sadness and struggles compared to the other characters in the book? What does she stand to learn from the journey?

Mr. Ghazi sees Rebecca's "early enthusiasm become a hardened fear, and he worried for her." How do you feel about Rebecca's sadness and struggles compared to the sadness and struggles of other characters in the book? What does she, the American-born child of an affluent family, stand to learn from the journey, and from the other "beginners?"


Posted Jul. 29, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elyseg

Join Date: 11/13/17

Posts: 29

RE: How do you feel about Rebecca's sadness and struggles compared to the other characters in the book? What does she stand to learn from the journey?

I think Rebecca comes off as spoiled, self-absorbed and lacking ambition - except to be an actress. Since she's convinced she is perfect for every lead she auditions for, she has no reason to consider pursuing further study, and certainly would not admit defeat. So I have a hard time sympathizing with her character. I think she learns much from the others, including humility and how to be happy with less.


Posted Jul. 29, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 304

RE: How do you feel about Rebecca's sadness and struggles compared to the other characters in the book? What does she stand to learn from the journey?

On the one hand, Rebecca’s struggles serve as as a foil to highlight the genuine physical hardship of other characters whose struggles are for survival, and it’s easy to dismiss her as a child of privilege. On the other hand, Rebecca’s struggle, like Pival’s, or Bhim’s, is a genuine one, a matter of emotional survival: how to resist the expectations of others who see you —whether lovingly or abusively—as extensions of themselves. Psychologst Abraham Maslow described a “hierarchy of human needs” which I have found very helpful to understanding people, fictional or otherwise. Think of a pyramid and the base is survival: food, water, shelter and not getting shot at or beaten up... then comes a need for security, the reality that your survival needs will continue to be met; the next step is belonging, being accepted and valued as a member of a family, community or other group; the next need is for having some degree of freedom, of choice, of control over your life, and at the top of the pyramid, the need to fulfill yourself, to make some meaning out of your life. All people have these needs, starting with babies needing to survive and feel secure and then they can “bond” with parents/caregivers and begin to grow and learn to make choices and govern their own lives, opening up the possibility for self-fulfillment. If a person’s survival and security needs aren’t met at any age, that takes priority (the base of the pyramid). When that is not at issue, the focus may be upon the conflict —Rebecca’s, Pival’s, Bhim’s—between belonging, acceptance, and choosing your own parh in life. Privilege doesn’t exempt you from this potential conflict, or necessarily make it any easier to resolve.

Rebecca had to learn to face her conflict instead of escaping it through her hookups with men, a closet rebellion behind her parents’ back. Her relationship with Pival helped her take this step.


Posted Jul. 30, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
eleanorm

Join Date: 07/30/19

Posts: 1

RE: How do you feel about Rebecca's sadness and struggles compared to the other characters in the book? What does she stand to learn from the journey?

Rebecca has just as much sadness and struggle as Pival and Bhim, even though to the average person, her struggles seem to be self induced. Some young people today, even those of privilege, are finding America difficult to navigate. Rebecca like the other characters has to find a new beginning to find happiness. She has to allow herself to start her new journey with great flexibility.


Posted Aug. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 327

RE: How do you feel about Rebecca's sadness and struggles compared to the other characters in the book? What does she stand to learn from the journey?

Compared to many of the other characters in the book, Rebecca's problems seemed so much more manageable. I could almost hear Satya, or Bhim, or Pival saying, "Oh, I wish I had YOUR problems." I appreciate the other comments here so much because they reminded me that everyone is fighting a battle that we know nothing about. What we see on the outside is not necessarily what is happening on the inside.

I was pretty tough on Rebecca during the "favorite character" question, and I realize that her personal unhappiness was leading her down a destructive path. She was potentially heading toward a premature death due to her dangerous behavior- -a slower suicide, perhaps, than what Pival herself had in mind?

The trip gave her an opportunity to step outside of herself and look at the bigger picture. One can change the parameters of his/her dreams and still follow them and achieve them. I think the phone call with her mother at the end of the book really helped Rebecca. She realized that her parents weren't disappointed with her; they wanted to protect her from rejection and hurt feelings.


Posted Aug. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
veronica

Join Date: 10/17/12

Posts: 9

RE: How do you feel about Rebecca's sadness and struggles compared to the other characters in the book? What does she stand to learn from the journey?

I liked Rebecca, but I couldn't stand her mother. Just because her mother struggled with lack of confidence and poor self esteem doesn't mean you treat your daughter that way. I didn't feel any love coming from Rebecca's mom. I think this is why Rebecca acted the way she did and I feel the other characters in the book helped her to grow. Accepted her for her.


Posted Aug. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
veronica

Join Date: 10/17/12

Posts: 9

RE: How do you feel about Rebecca's sadness and struggles compared to the other characters in the book? What does she stand to learn from the journey?

Yes, Rebecca had struggles and sadness. But the other characters came from a different country and environment and being in the USA I felt they had a harder time of understanding about life here.


Posted Aug. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
louisee

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 137

RE: How do you feel about Rebecca's sadness and struggles compared to the other characters in the book? What does she stand to learn from the journey?

I think Rebecca's struggles and sadness are different from the others because she was born and raised in the US. Satya's and Pival's struggles are from being in a new and different country. Rebecca seemed stuck, she needed to evaluate her current situation and make changes in her life. Traveling helped her get unstuck and give her a different perspective. She learned that she didn't need to work in New York City to be fulfilled as an actress.


Posted Aug. 09, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 406

RE: How do you feel about Rebecca's sadness and struggles compared to the other characters in the book? What does she stand to learn from the journey?

All three characters were dealing with personal struggles and sadness. Rebecca was a young woman who could not find her place in life. This seems to be true of many of our young people today. The child of wealthy parents does not guarantee that we will be happy. Pival, herself, was the child of wealthy parents. Yet was suffering great sadness. Individual self worth is not a matter of wealth, race or country. Satya, was discovering a bit about himself, that he did not like. That he could betray his best friend. So his personal journey was riddled with guilt. I think each of the characters learned something about themselves and about life. Rebecca will probably have a better relationship with her mother after this trip and will be looking at her own life, through a whole new lens.


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