Family culture is the attitudes, values, ideals, and the environment, a person grows up with and inherits from his or her parents (What’s Your Family Culture?). In the book The Accidental Apprentice, by Vikas Swarup, the audience witnesses how family culture can shape and affect someone’s entire life for better or for worse. The main character in this story is a girl named Sapna. Sapna’s family culture places restrictions on her and her sisters in terms relationship expectations and career choices. This limits Sapna and her sisters from achieving goals and living out their lives the way they want to.Sapna’s family culture’s restrictive norms affect her family’s relationships and their ability to live their lives they way they choose. According to the article Effects of Family Culture on Family Foundation, norms are standards put in place for how a family member can talk, dress, or behave inside and outside of the home (Effects of Family Culture on Family Foundation). One of the norms/standards set in Sapna’s household was that her and her sisters had to do everything their father said, whether they agreed with it or not. Sapna’s father has very strict standards on what his daughters are allowed to do. In the book, it describes just how strict Sapna’s father was with his daughters, “Sister Agnes, our tyrannical principal, had very clear ideas on the things they were allowed to do as a girl, what they could not do and what they must never do. At home, their father enforced the same strict code of conduct including an eight p.m. curfew” (Swarup 59-60). Sapna’s father wanted his daughters to be focused on school and not get distracted with anything other than their studies. He especially did not want them getting pregnant, which meant that boyfriends were off limits. Sapna’s father is trying to do the best he can to make sure his daughters have proper manners and to make sure they behave in a way that he believes is right. Sapna’s father’s strict code ultimately ruins the relationship with Sapna and her sister (Alka) as Alka commits suicide. When Sapna’s father finds out that Alka is experimenting with drugs he threatens to send her to jail. We see just how trapped Alka feels in her home as she describes her home as already being a jail, “Alka will be happier in jail than in this prison called home” (Swarup 66). Sapna’s relationships with her sister and family are affected, as noone has a say in their life choices except their father. This leaves the daughters to keep emotions and feelings bottled up, and restricts them from living their lives the way they want to.Sapna’s family culture also dictates her career choices and education. The girls careers were already chosen for them before they went to university. In the book, Sapna describes what career paths her father chose for each one of them, “He had … mapped out the futures of all three of his daughters. Sapna, the studious one, was to become a civil servant; Neha, the beautiful one, was to pursue a career as a TV journalist; and Alka, the compassionate one, was to be a doctor” (Swarup 60). Indian parents put more importance on their future generations succeeding at work, something they think will give their children happiness in the future (What Indian Parents Want Most For Their Children). Sapna’s father was very strict about what kind of a career he wanted his daughters to have. Instead of doing something that they enjoyed, he wanted them to do something that would ensure a stable and prosperous future. This would bring them joy after they were successful. Sapna did whatever she had to do to be happy and make her father happy.  “Like an obedient daughter, Sapna did what her father expected of her. Sapna excelled at school and then joined the BA course at Kumaun University. Even though her subject was English literature, she read up everything that she could lay her hands on. From the life cycle of a moth to the fuel cycle of a nuclear power plant, from black holes to brown clouds to cloud computing, Sapna hoovered up every bit of arcane information to hone her general knowledge, which is essential for success in the civil services exam” (Swarup 60). When Sapna’s dad dies, she is now the most educated and the eldest of the siblings, because of this tragic event Sapna has to stop her education and get to work early. Since Sapna is the oldest she is expected to provide for the family. According to 6 Reasons – Why children in India drop out of school and become child labourers, One reason children dropout of school is on account of their parents death and the rest of the family needs somebody to help them (6 Reasons – Why children in India drop out of school and become child labourers). When Sapna’s father was alive, the Academy he worked for gave his children free education. After her father died, Sapna had to make the money in the family to send her other sister to school. She also needs to pay for the family’s basic needs. In the book, Sapna describes where her salary goes every month, “Half Sapna’s salary every month goes in meeting Neha’s constantly evolving needs: skinny jeans, glossy lipstick, designer handbags bling cell-phones … the list never ends… As it is, we’re barely making ends meet on my salary” (Swarup 21). Rent is also very expensive to live in high class homes, so Sapna had to move into the Lower Income Group (LIG) colony. Sapna was ultimately forced to take care of her family after her father’s death, restricting her from following through with her initial career choice. This lead her to obtain a job that she does not like in order to make ends meet.


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