The desire for an adventure in new places, cultures, with different people, and within an unknown environment is a natural urge that virtually everyone has. People planning for journeys to new lands, especially places that are far away get filled with incessant curiosity and anxiety. The traveller begins to develop imaginations of how the place looks, the nature of people living there and their ways of life. In the extreme cases, some people even begin contemplating of the most appropriate behaviour patterns that they need to adopt so as to fit into their new environments without any apparent difficulties. As soon as the journey begins, some unique euphoria develops that pushes a traveller to ensure that they learn every detail about their destination and resolve their sense of anxiety. Sometimes an individuals expectations may be too much that it becomes difficult to accept the reality as they present once at the destination. Through the eyes of Vadik in Lara Vapnyars Waiting for the Miracle, she attempts to pass various messages about the New York City. The primary message about New York contained in Waiting for the Miracle is that it is not only a free environment, diverse, expansive, replete with opportunities and challenges but also populous hence the need to maintain individual contacts with people that one holds dear.
New York City is a metropolis with different people going about their businesses without necessarily getting concerned about what the rest of the people are doing. At his first step into New York, Vadik could not help to marvel at its complexity and being so busy. Vadiks difficulty in tracing his paths within the city reflects its vastness. It required some experience of the metropolis to be on track or at least a guide to avoid getting lost. A newcomer to the metropolis without a clue of the desired destination makes him or her look like a spirit groping in darkness without ease. There are different things that capture the attention of a newcomer. These include tall, magnificent buildings, unique vehicle models, and busy people all seemingly running their errands unperturbed. For instance, Vadik found himself distracted by different happenings around him. In this confusion, he lost the idea about the direction he had taken.
The City of New York offers opportunities for people of different heritage who have the motivation to achieve socio-economic success. There is an insistent industrious mood that drives the inhabitants of the city. For instance, people exchange pleasantries through beautiful but brief smiles along the alleys and as Vadik rightly realizes among the women he meets along the citys streets. Everyone in the city is in an apparent rush to get to a particular destination. This hurry implies that the people there are attuned to do things very fast to save time. Efficiency is a critical aspect of the industry that is expressed by time economics and effectiveness with which people carry out their activities. As Vadik notes in the narrative, it only requires good health, energy, and determination to prosper in New York.
It is the possibilities that the residents of the city embrace that make Vadik develop a perception that he got everything at his disposal. In addition, the availability of opportunities and industrial drive that define the way businesses are operated exemplify the life of the New Yorkers. The people operate late into the nights even during inclement weather. For instance, Vadik, with his shoes soaked due to the snowy weather could still get a brightly lit dinner where he took his mean for the night. Despite the fact that the hotel did not look like a well-established one, the operators were motivated to work in earnest to offer a necessary public service and achieve profitability. Even the elderly in New York bravely embrace the spirit of hard work and determination. At the eatery where Vadik eats at night, there is an old couple that seems to have worked hard at least to afford themselves food. They brave the winter to go and feed themselves at a time when many customers have not throng the premises at then.
Despite the various opportunities that New York presents to its inhabitants, there are distinct challenges that the city portends to its newcomers. There are evident class differences and disparity among individuals socio-economic status. Some people in the city can afford to buy top of the range vehicles while a section of it wallows in desperation. The unique vehicles and beautiful women that destruct Vadik at his arrival in the city contrast with the status he finds in the hotel. This differences in classes express the diversity of the city where there are high-income earners, average income households, and low-income families. The class differences notwithstanding, the people at the lower levels of the economic profile still work hard to sustain their needs. At the hotel, for instance, the old couple feeds on soup hence an indication of low income. Another expression poverty in the story is the presence of an unkempt man who looks like homeless thus using the hotel as his temporary residence.
Education and inquisition are critical things that underlie the various opportunities that accrue to New Yorkers. Reading and college education grossly determine their. Men and women in the city value the need to develop a deeper understanding of everything in their environments. Even the general conceptions such as the meanings derivable from a poem or song are subjected to introspection. The reading culture is well established in New York, and it is not a surprise to see people reading different literature even in public spaces. This education inculcates a sense of awareness and humanity that redefine the individual lives of every New Yorker. For instance, the humbling effect of education obscured the achievements that Rachel had made. If Vadik had not interacted with her to know that she was a university student, she could have easily passed for a dull and backward young woman who does not know how to manage a runny nose in public. Through Rachels stature and conversations with Vadik, an image of a sensitive woman empowered by education is evident. Her response to Vadiks liking for Cohens song demonstrates another characteristic of New York. Gender issues in the city are controversial. The songs and poems that artists create are treated with thorough critique.
Another challenge is the social construction of gender that potentially undermines equal opportunities and portrayal of sexes in New York. The idealization of sex and gender in the city is so polarized that the men are depicted as anti-feminists. The foundation of such perceptions is on petty reasons such as the demeanour of the other gender or expresses complacency to protect the other sex in artistic impressions such as songs, dance, and poetry. Women feel that they are the estranged humans who are negatively framed and abused by men. This perception overrides the superficial things such as praises or idolizations that a man may bestow upon a woman. Based on these assertions, it is logical to understand that New York is characterized by contentious depiction of gender and a high sensitivity to it.
The diversity of New York City is not only manifested in the nature and activities of the people staying there, but even the buildings are also markedly different. While the tall towers look tall and attractive, some residential houses such as the one in which Rachel stays is small and dark. Even within the same locality, apartments and spaces look somehow contrasted. On their way to Rachels apartment, some buildings along a narrow street t through which the duo walks are not only cheerful but also attractive. Nonetheless, her house was on the fifth flow of a building with creaky stairs, dark and small. This diversity in structures is confusing enough to make a newcomer wonder whether the house in which someone lives reflects his or her personality and status.
New York is a city with big-hearted and accommodating people who have value for strangers and treat them with the utmost sense of hospitality. Even amidst a pervasive influence of diversity, people there do not discriminate strangers or look at them with contempt. At both public places and private spaces, New Yorkers act with reason and absolute sense of humanity. In the hotel where Vadik eats a meal within the city, the waiter does not perceive him as not being one of them. This form of treatment is unlike the situations that had been a norm in the United States of America during the 1960s in which the whites treated immigrants, especially the blacks in a way that made them appear as lesser humans.
The hospitality of New Yorkers gracefully integrates with the natural compassion and love hence endearing them further to the wider realm of people. Being a stranger in New York does not necessarily portend challenges but a welcoming society that thrives on the ideal value of diversity. For instance, Rachel afforded Vadik a warm treatment that remains in his memories for the rest of his time in the city. He is nostalgic about every moment and every detail about the young lady who in a normal life would otherwise be in a hurry to do her things without being attentive to other people. However, she was neither reserved nor contemptuous in dealing with Vadik thus a clear expression of the openness of the city to immigrants.
The city of New York is vast with the immense population that makes it difficult for someone to trace the other unless through a private home address or phone contacts. The fact that everyone seems to be in a hurry to go about their businesses even complicates the situation further. The option for people who do not take and maintain contacts with the people they interact with is to let fate make them meet again. As much as Vadik remained nostalgic about his encounter with Rachel during his first night in the city, he blames himself for not having taken her contacts. This broken link leaves him desperate for another meeting, but the beautiful woman with a big heart and a disturbing tinge of love are drowned in the vastness and population of the city.
Vapnyar, Lara. "Waiting For The Miracle". The New Yorker, 2017, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/04/25/waiting-for-the-miracle-by-lara-vapnyar.
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