The Interpreter Of Maladies English Literature Essay

The Interpreter of Maladies reflects the trauma of self-transformation through immigration which ends up as an attempt in futility as resultantly there's a series of broken identities that form "multiple anchorages. " Lahiri's stories present the futile diasporic struggle to keep your hands on culture as characters create new lives in foreign cultures. Relationships, language, rituals, and religion all help these characters maintain their culture in new surroundings even while they create a "hybrid realization" as Asian Americans. But the insufficient harmony and happiness ultimately makes the attempt a futile experience.

Interpretation of Maladies brings to light lots of the problems with identity faced by the Diaspora community. The book provides the stories of first and second generation Indian immigrants, and a few stories involving ideas of otherness among communities in India. The stories revolve around the down sides of relationships, communication and a lack of identity for those in diaspora. No matter where the story occurs, the characters struggle with the same feelings of exile and the struggle between the two worlds by which they are torn. The stories deal with the always shifting lines between gender, sexuality, and social status inside a diaspora. Whether the character be a homeless woman from India or an Indian male student in the United States, all the characters display the effects of displacement in a diaspora.

The issues presented by the writer indicate a sense of futility in the characters due to the happening of events in their life. The settings, narration, the mindsets of the characters and the interaction characters have with one another assist the readers in comprehending their plight and the futility of the situation.

Interpreter of Maladies:

Jhumpha's thematic presentation of futility in the Interpreter of Maladies is somewhat subtle yet effective. The setting is merely about perfect with the type placement effectively facilitating the futility in their relationships and aspirations. The Central characters in this tale are Mr. and Mrs. Das and the tour guide Mr. Kapasi. The writer through the interactions of the Das couple with the children Tina, Bobby and Ronny show us the actual fact that their relationship with their children lack perfection and to a great extent seems futile as the children do not seem to obey their parents and Mr. and Mrs. Das appear more of sibling to their children than their parents because they are constantly squabbling among themselves. Mrs. Das is evidently not considering the relationship which seems futile to her and the actual fact that she describes Mr. Kapasi's job as an interpreter of maladies as a romantic one leads Mr. Kapasi to fantasize about her which eventually actually is a futile exercise. An aspect which does not fail to draw attention of the reader is the instance when the Das couple are engaged within an argument concerning who would take Tina to the bathroom is indicative of each one wish to shun responsibility. Here, a feeling of futility is existent in the parental relationship the couple share towards their children.

Jhumpa has utilized having less communication as an aspect to provide the futility of the partnership all the characters are dwelling in. Mr. Das is presented as a character always buried in his guide book while Mrs. Das hides her inner self behind her sunglasses. Mr. Kapasi is trapped in a loveless futile marriage spending lonely nights drinking tea by himself.

The futility of the partnership the Das family is in is very evident in the action of Mrs Das particularly when she does not offer puffed rice which she was gorging on by herself. The factor of family sharing meals fails to be present. This action of Mrs. Das indicates indifference and an underlying sense of hostility towards her spouse and children. The relationships they share is thus understood to be a futile relationship.

Mr Kapasi reveals the futility of his existence as he is working as an interpreter feels that his job is a failure as he is a scholar of many languages. The dissatisfaction he encounters in the work of any interpreter causes a sense of futility within him. Futility is further expressed by the character when he states that the work of interpreter was taken up to pay of medical bills of his son who had contracted thyroid. His son's death made his sacrifice of sorts a futile effort.

Mr. Kapasi's fantasy ride commences with Mrs. Das. It becomes very evident to Mr. Kapasi that the Das Couple's relationship lacks charm and harmony which is futile. He begins to fantasize about Mrs. Das when she admires his job as that of an interpreter. His fantasy leads to a peak when he and Mrs. Das are conversing while looking at the nudity depicted by means of temple carvings. The sensuality of the problem is well created by the writer by placing her characters in a setting which is erotic leading to temptation but futile desires.

He made a decision to begin with the most obvious question, to access the heart of the problem, therefore he asked, "Could it be really pain you are feeling, Mrs. Das, or could it be guilt?"

This quote appears towards the end of the story where Mrs. Das reveals the actual fact that Bobby is the son of a friend of Mr. Das whom she was intimate with while her husband was away. Mr. Kapasi questions her about her feeling and Mr. Kapasi makes one final interpretation. Mr. Kapasi feels that Mrs. Das desires absolution and not questioning, relief and not reflection. She and Mr. Kapasi are both lonely however the fact that they have variations keeps them apart thus making the opportunity of a relationship futile.

Revelation contributes to futility. The revelation created by Mrs Das about the legitimacy of her child to Mr. Kapasi was the blow which tarnishes the fantasy of Mr. Kapasi. For a brief spell of time, Mr. Kapasi was on an imaginative trip which proved baseless and futile as he failed to accept the person who he was daydreaming going to have a scandalous past consequently.

The revelation of Mrs. Das proves her infidelity further shattering the image of the Das family proving the actual fact that the relationship is more of the arrangement when compared to a bonding of love.

The writer has aptly used setting to bring all her vital characters in the scene and weaving a storyline in a natural way facilitating the flow of human emotions at their various moment of interaction. The writer crafts every character in an all natural and believable manner leading us to realize the fact that there are several relationships where people are bound together with regard to fulfilling an arrangement commenced to fulfill a certain purpose but the lack of depth and gravity of the relationship proves the relationship to be a futile on as in the case of Mr. and Mrs. Das and their relationship, Mr. Kapasi and his profession as an interpreter and a tour guide and his fascination for Mrs. Das which down the road sours as he learns about her "real" self.

With regards to being in India, Mr. and Mrs. Das fail to connect with the country India as their home but have a tourists' perspective which is very evident when Mr. Das snaps away a picture of the starving peasant rather than helping him. When Bobby is need of help when surrounded by monkeys, Mr. Das is worked up about the picture he clicks instead of immediately helping the boy. This means that too little understanding and connection with each other and the united states they are in which they understand as being home. Thus the trip too can be safely understood to be an exercise in futility.

The camera of Mr. Das is symbolically utilized by the writer to provide the actual fact that Mr. Das view the world through his camera and in not in direct touch with reality. The camera proves to be an obstruction and proves to be always a futile aspect blocking Mr. Das's chance to view the real world devoid his camera.

"Interpreter of Maladies" is a story with a setting and dialogues which might not be bigger than life but is as close and real as life could be although writer presents her are a fictionalized account of her imagination and creativity.

A Temporary Matter:

In this tale, the writer in every clarity wishes to point out that lack of trust and deceit in a relationship makes the existence of this relationship futile. The futility of the relationship of Shukumar and Shoba is obvious through the game that Shoba and Shukumar play of revealing secrets; readers learn that deception is a theme in their relationship which deteriorates the partnership. They have lied to each other, and the lies have been selfish ones-told not to spare the other's feelings but to permit the individual telling the lie to escape some discomfort or sacrifice. In order to avoid having dinner with Shukumar's mother, Shoba lied and said she was required to work late. Shukumar told Shoba that he lost a sweater she had given him, when in reality he returned the sweater and used the money to get drunk.

As these examples of deception are revealed throughout the story, it is clear that Shoba and Shukumar's emotional estrangement commenced before the lack of their baby. They have got always dealt with difficult situations and unpleasant feelings by lying and keeping secrets. When Shoba breaks the stalemate that their grief has caused by initiating a deceptive game, she actually is following a recognised pattern. Through the entire week of power outages, Shoba appears to be calling Shukumar. In reality, she is engineering her final separation from him.

At once, the game that are drawing them together also reveals a past filled up with deception. Things have not always been as they seemed between these two people. In addition, readers learn early in the storyplot that Shoba is definitely one to plan ahead and this she keeps another bank-account. Readers are left to wonder whether the pattern of deception will be broken or intensified.

The balance seems to shift decisively in favor of a happy ending when, on the fifth evening, the narrator declares, "They had survived a difficult time. " Shoba's silence that evening has been interpreted as the calm after having a storm. But that interpretation is as misleading as Shoba's behavior has been. Readers, like Shukumar, have been given mixed signals and only learn by the end which set of clues was reliable.

The stage setting increases the realm of the storyline. To depict futility of the partnership of the protagonists, the writer places the Bradford couple as neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Bradford are neighbors of Shoba and Shukumar. Shoba and Shukumar see them walking by, arm in arm, on the way to the bookstore on the second night of the power outage. The Bradfords seem to be to be always a happily married couple and as such give a contrast to Shoba and Shukumar. The narrator mentions that the Bradfords put a sympathy card in Shoba and Shukumar's mailbox when they lost their baby.

"You went to answer the telephone in the other room. It was your mother, and I figured it would be a long call. I wanted to learn if you'd promoted me from the margins of your newspaper. "

Instead of looking for clues about her future husband or finding something of earth-shattering importance, she looks to decide if she is creating the little information on Shukumar's life. Again, it is clear that the little things mask the greater realities.

Alienation further triggers of futility of the relationship. Shoba and Shukumar's grief has led these to withdraw from each other. Until the nightly power outages began, they avoided each other. Shoba leaves for work early every morning, returns late, and frequently brings home extra work to occupy her evenings and weekends. When Shoba is home, Shukumar retreats to his computer and pretends to work on his dissertation. He has place the computer in the area that was to be the nursery because he knows that Shoba avoids that room. She comes in briefly each evening to tell him goodnight. He resents even this brief interaction, which Shoba initiates only out of a feeling of obligation.

Shoba and Shukumar do not attempt to comfort or support one another. Each withdraws from the relationship, plus they endure their grief as though these were two strangers residing in a boardinghouse.

Mrs. Sen:

Mrs. Sen, the titular character of Lahiri's story demonstrates the power that physical objects have on the human experience. This aspect is utilized by the writer to show a sense of futility in the thoughts and existence of the titular character. During the entire story, Mrs. Sen is preoccupied with the occurrence or insufficient material objects that she once had. Physically though Mrs. Sen is there where she actually is but mentally or rather emotionally she appears to be dwelling in another world, an environment of the past. Whether it's fish from her native Calcutta or her special vegetable cutting blade, she clings to the material possessions that she actually is accustomed to, while firmly rejecting new experiences such as canned fish or even something as mundane as worries.

"'At home that is all you have to do. Not everybody has a telephone. But just shout out a lttle bit, or express grief or joy of any sort, and one whole neighborhood and 50 % of another has come to share the news, to assistance with arrangements"

This moment illustrates that Mrs. Sen is discussing her neighborhood at home as a more closely-knit community than that of the area where Eliot lives. Here she uses a slightly superior attitude when discussing her culture instead of Eliot's, which helps her remain confident about staying true to her Indian roots while she physically lives in an alternative place.

Lack of the ability of the central character of Mrs. Sen to transcend successfully and accept her " new world " presents the futility of the situation. While her homesickness is certainly understandable given her insufficient meaningful social connections, her item-centric nostalgia only accentuates the actual fact that the people she meets in the us are no barrier to her acclimation. The person at the fish market takes the time to call Mrs. Sen and reserve her special fish. The policeman who questions Mrs. Sen after her automobile accident does not indict her. For all intents and purposes, the folks in the storyline make it possible for Mrs. Sen to embrace life in America. But despite this, Mrs. Sen refuses to assimilate to any degree, continuing to wrap herself in saris, serving Indian canapes to Eliot's mother, and putting off the chance of driving. By living her life vicariously through remembered stories imprinted on her blade, her saris, and her grainy aerograms, Mrs. Sen resists assimilation through the power of material objects and the meaning they hold for her.

In this story, 11-year old Eliot starts sticking to Mrs. Sen - a university professor's wife - after school. The caretaker, Mrs. Sen, chops and prepares food as she tells Elliot stories of her past life in Calcutta, helping to craft her identity. Like "A Temporary Matter, " this story is filled up with lists of produce, catalogs of ingredients, and descriptions of recipes. Emphasis is positioned on ingredients and the act of preparation. Other objects are emphasized as well, such as Mrs. Sen's colorful collection of saris from her native India. Much of the plot revolves around Mrs. Sen's tradition of purchasing fish from an area seafood market. This fish reminds Mrs. Sen of her home and holds great significance on her behalf. However, reaching the seafood market requires driving, a skill that Mrs. Sen hasn't learned and resists learning. At the end of the storyplot, Mrs. Sen attempts to drive to the market without her husband, and ends up in a car accident. Eliot soon stops sticking to Mrs. Sen thereafter.


"Sexy" is particularly poignant in the analysis of feeling such as a foreign inside your own private relationships and the unspoken possibilities that await those willing to break from days gone by. Sexy tells the storyplot of a young woman's futile affair with a married man. Miranda is the outsider in her relationship with Dev, secondary to his wife and not capable of living her own life since it revolves solely around next time they'll meet.

Through the innocent words of a young boy who unintentionally makes her realize the futility of her ways, she actually is driven to look at and re-evaluate what love is, until she actually is finally ready to let go.

The final pages of Sexy, portray the central character as having gained a sense of self, having broken from her maladies to work their way towards personal freedom with the end associated with an affair which is the situation with Miranda.

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)