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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Chandrika Dalal, July 22, 1999. Interview K-0814. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Impact of television on Dalal's perception of Americans

Television has had a dual impact on Dalal. While she learned the English language from television programs, they have skewed her perspective that United States society is immoral. She believes television shows accurately reflect the nation's identity and culture.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Chandrika Dalal, July 22, 1999. Interview K-0814. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

CHANDRIKA DALAL:
And I watch TV, because when I come here, my English is (was) not good. People don't understand me, I don't understand them. So, I watch the CBS-, Daytime Show-, and I learn English from this TV show.
ANDREW JILANI:
Uh-huh. Is it-, is it a TV-, lesson on the TV.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
No. It's a story. It's a movie, it's a daytime show. Soap opera!
ANDREW JILANI:
It's a soap opera? Aaah….
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Some people watch ABC, but I like CBS because I like—.
ANDREW JILANI:
What's-, er… what is you favorite soap opera?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Oh. It's-, er… Young and the Restless.
ANDREW JILANI:
Young and the Restless—. Okay.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
As the World Turns, Guiding Light.
ANDREW JILANI:
Uh-huh.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
They're so—. You learn about this culture, this society, what they believe, what they (are) doing. And everything—.
ANDREW JILANI:
What was the-, what were the other ones after the Young and the Restless? You mentioned two—.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
As the World Turns.
ANDREW JILANI:
As the World turns….
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
And-, Guiding Light.
ANDREW JILANI:
Guiding Light? Okay.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
That-, in that soap-, soap opera, teach(es) you about this culture, this country. How people-, er…. Use people, cheat, and lie-, and there is no morality.
ANDREW JILANI:
You think the-, the life, the stories which are on soap opera, they connect with the real life?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
I think so. Because, I read in the talk show—. I watch that-, Hard Copy, Inside Edison, America's Most Wanted-, and that-, [pause] Extra!
ANDREW JILANI:
Extra?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
The talk show-, come on the CBS-, on CBS seven o'clock-. That-, er… Inside Edison comes seven to seven-thirty, and seven-thirty to eight-, Extra.
ANDREW JILANI:
Extra?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Yeah. And NBC-, they have a show, (called) Hard Copy. In Hard Copy, they bring some true stories—.
ANDREW JILANI:
Uh-huh.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
True murder cases, or criminals, or all kind of things-, they bring it-, and then, you think (that) whatever happen(s) in the soap opera-, all these shows-, it's a real life of America. Because I heard in the news-, I heard in the movies-, sometimes they bring on the TV true stories. And I (am) always interested when they say that movie (is) based on a true story. I just watch this movie, and just realize there is a-, you see this culture-, so understanding-, you know? Because you can't go and talk with people and find out like this. So, you just watch this-, er… TV—.
ANDREW JILANI:
TV—.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Or the true story movie(s), then you know this culture is different than our culture.
ANDREW JILANI:
Uh-huh.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
But then you learn about this culture, too.
ANDREW JILANI:
Uh-huh. But you-, you don't think that these stories on the soap operas are made up?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
No. They bring some real stories!
ANDREW JILANI:
You think they're real stories?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
I think so. They make that stories-, but some reflection-, they put the light on this-, in this-, society, and this American culture. I think it's real. It's not-, all-, all-, all is not-, wrong.
ANDREW JILANI:
Uh-huh.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Something is truth in these stories, and it's happened in real life. It's come on that-, er… talk shows, and it's come on the news, or America's wanted. Where they bring that stories (from)? You know?