The Third and Final Continent (Lahiri)

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The Third and Final Continent
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A newly married man from India moves to America for a job, lives with a centenarian woman briefly before bringing his wife to live with him, ultimately adjusting to the American way of life.

In 1964, a man from India moved to England to continue his education after securing a job at a university library. He lived with other penniless Bengali bachelors in London.

Narrator — narrator; an Indian immigrant, educated, patient, respectful, missing his mother; initially struggles with adapting to Western culture but gradually adjusts.

By 1969, he had received a job offer from a prestigious American university. Meanwhile, he had an arranged marriage. Taking his wife along, he moved to America.

Mala — the narrator's wife; becomes an immigrant after marriage, traditional, adjusting, caring.

On his very first day there, a lonely woman named Mrs. Croft offered him a room in her house.

Mrs. Croft — very old American woman, strong-willed, loud; landlord of the narrator, eccentric, fierce yet vulnerable.

In the evenings, he would sit and chat with this 100-year-old woman.

There is an American flag on the moon! Isn't that splendid?

After a while, the man's wife joined him in America. They moved out of Mrs. Croft's house and started their life together.

She is a perfect lady!

Decades later, while reminiscing about his life, he reflects on how ordinary his journey may seem, but there are times when it feels beyond his imagination. He is amazed at how he has managed to make a place for himself on three different continents.

I have remained in this new world for nearly thirty years. I know that my achievement is quite ordinary.

He instills the spirit of perseverance and ambition in his son by telling him about his life journey.