Summary Of Lost In Translation By Eva Hoffman

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In Eva Hoffman’s memoir, Lost in Translation, Hoffman faces a life challenge; language. Eva explains how her transition from Poland to Vancouver, Canada, affected her in 1959. Hoffman was only thirteen when her family chose to leave Poland, because anti-Semitism was still affecting the Jewish population after World War II. She left behind everything that was familiar to her and started to become a new person. During her journey, she lost her true identity because she lacked the understanding of American language. While in Poland, Hoffman loved to express her life with words. That all disappeared when her new life in Vancouver began. Her language started to evolve when she forced herself to learn English by reading and writing. As a child in …show more content…

She was not capable of understanding jokes or even little phrases that people would say and she felt as if she wasn’t fitting in. While Hoffman and her friends were out on a Saturday night, she tried making a joke of the words that she had learned from her father, and ended up embarrassed. She stated, “I have to form entire sentences before uttering them, otherwise I too easily get lost in the middle” (118). After this experience, she realized that she does not enjoy language as much as she did when she was in Poland. Hoffman dreaded the idea of becoming Americanized, so when her mother claimed “You are becoming English…this hurts me because I know she means I’m becoming cold” …show more content…

Her love for the English language began when Hoffman received a diary from her Canadian friend, Penny. She knew that she would have to learn the language that surrounded her in order to feel like she belonged. She decided that she wanted to write in her diary in English so that she could improve. She started to evolve by saying, “Every day I learn new words, new expressions. I pick them up from school exercises, from conversations, and from books” (106). So, Hoffman began gathering books and teaching herself how to read them. The American literature, The Education of Henry Adams, makes her realize that the more she learns about the American culture, the more she feels disconnected from the world. Communicating with people in Canada was very different than how she communicated with her friends back in Poland. She felt love and desire towards her childhood lover, Merek, because they shared their feelings with one another in ways only Polish speakers would understand. Over the years and after all of the hard work, Hoffman eventually overcame her difficulties in English. After learning the new language, she pushed herself to receive many scholarships so she could get into Rice University in Texas. Before leaving for college, Hoffman said “I wanted to gain genuine understanding of human nature, and I meant it” (161). While she was at college, she started dating a Texan boy. She loved him, but in a different way than

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