In “Saving Sourdi”, Sourdi is a victim of her sister’s Psychosocial Development that raises conflicts in the story. For instance age difference explains why Nea, younger sister, is not comfortable with Sourdi getting into a relationship and worse off being married. Nea is not yet an adolescent while Sourdi is. The cause of conflict lies in Nea’s love for Sourdi. Having been raised without a father, Nea looks at her big sister as her protector, her savior. This started when Nea was young, Sourdi was close to her and protected her at a tender, playing the role of a father, thus in a way, the deep jealousy Nea feels towards Duke and Mr. Chay almost resembles Freud’s Electra Complex. For this reason Nea tries so hard to “save” Sourdi from men, to keep Sourdi for herself. She displaces her frustrations of desiring Sourdi onto the men in Sourdi’s life (Erikson).
By being upset on seeing Duke and Sourdi passionately kissing in the open field shows that she has not yet experienced the sixth psychosocial development stage of Intimacy versus Isolation that covers the period of early adulthood when people are exploring personal relationships. Thus she feels that what the sister is doing is wrong. This is also linked to the fact that being in a new cultural setting, Sourdi is trying to adopt it while Nea is conservative of the lifestyle. Nea seems to express the Initiative vs doubt stage of psychosocial development when she tries to take initiative to save the sister from what she perceives to be wrong. This is illustrated by the aggressiveness by which she relentlessly tries to separate Sourdi and Mr. Chhay by first giving her mother what she thinks of the issue openly, then by driving in the night when she hears her sister cry over the phone assuming she had been hit by Mr. Chhay; where she ends up realizing that she had overreacted and yet again when she teams up with Duke to save Sourdi from Mr. Chhay. This shows how family will always be there for you, no matter what. On the other hand, Sourdi expresses her maturity by keeping put despite the attempts to separate them, to express her sense of Identity, Independence and control as expressed by the fifth psychosocial development stage,; identity versus confusion.
In “Real Women Have Curves”, the context is different in that Ana is the younger sister, who is facing the conflicts. Estella and her mother are conservative while Ana is determined to continue with school. Estella and her mother are conservative and want to retain the culture of their Latina origin, where they marry young and do not value education much.
Ana expresses the third psychosocial development stage: Initiative vs. Guilt and independence when she defies the opinions of her sister and mother to go to school as well as have a relationship.
In both stories, the authors expressed the different stages of psychosocial development, which explain the different traits exhibited by persons as they grow (The Bedford Introduction to Literature). They also explain why people behave the way they do, by attributing them to experiences in earlier stages in life and the environment in which they are brought up. In addition, the culture of a people and acceptance to change is also seen to cause conflicts. However, Ana and Nea have to stick to their decisions and choices despite the opinions of their sisters to gain what they want. For instance, Ana has to persist with her intent to further her education and have a relationship despite her mother and sisters opinions. Similarly, Nea has to contend with Sourdi’s decision to be married and accept the distance created by the marriage (Bedford).