Sodaba Dadrass Dadrass 1
AP English 12
The Red Carpet: Characterization
In the short story, The Red Carpet, Lavanya Sankaran uses characterization to differentiate between the characters’ qualities and their views from different cultures. The two main characters, Raju and Mrs. Choudhary, are dissimilar in numerous ways, from their opinions on how to dress, to their values and moral beliefs. Mrs. Choudhary is also portrayed as a “bad” character, the way her clothing and smoking habits are described, but we also see this kind, sincere side of her. They are indeed from the same country but they were brought up surrounded by different cultural influences, and the author uses this specific characteristic to keep the story together and purposeful.
Raju is portrayed as a traditional Indian, who isn’t aware of Western society. Even though he accepts Mrs. Choudhary’s ways, he still judges her style of clothing and her activities with her friends. Their cultures clash, they don’t assimilate, but they learn to deal with each other’s differences. Mrs. Choudhary doesn’t really look down upon Raju, but the fact that she changes her name, from Rangappa to Raju, shows that she is not familiar or good with Raju’s name, let alone his culture. She has changed other workers’ names but Raju is one of the only workers that she sympathizes with, and it could be a quality that Raju has, that leads Mrs. Choudhary to do such nice things for him. It might be because Raju doesn’t try to judge her as much as her previous workers, or that he does his work so well, that he can figure out where she wants to go by the way that she has dresses.
Throughout the story Mrs. Choudhary is portrayed as a non-traditional character who only lives for herself and her luxuries, but later in the story we get to see this kind side of her that wants to help, that wants to, even if it’s for a moment, change. We see Raju’s appreciation for Mrs. Choudhary’s temporary change, and gains even more respect for her. These characters show the ability one has to change and respect other’s cultures and their views. We can accept one’s background, and be able to partially assimilate to it as well. Raju feels close to Mrs. Choudhary for that span of time, because she becomes a
person that he wanted to work, like a dream employer. And the characters flexibility to change is what transforms the story.
Raju and Mrs. Chaudhary have different characters, but they come together at one moment in the story and show that they are flexibility towards each other’s opinions and views. Lavanya Sankaran uses great characterization to build up on to the story.