It is those who leave their homeland who struggle the most in Interpreter of Maladies. Do you agree? Though Jhumpa Lahiri is a London born writer who grew up in Rhode Island in the United States of America and is now currently living in New York; she is able to craftily expose the fragility of immigrants while settling in a new environment in her debut novel – Interpreter of Maladies. Although Lahiri’s parents’ ultimately adjusted to living in America, they must have had frequent longings of their mother land, allowing Lahiri the opportunity to observe, first hand, the often painful adjustment of immigrants living in an adopted country. The psychological dislocation that immigrants often suffer can cause their children to feel a similar sense of alienation and loneliness, as depicted in several of Lahiri’s stories. Homesickness that is mostly felt by the majority of migrants in the early years of their new settlement is contrastingly portrayed between new migrants and migrants who have migrated for some time. Lahiri then compares the characters’ ability to assimilate in a foreign culture and proves to the reader the broad spectrum of integration that is achievable by migrants. However, the identity crisis suffered by new migrants is inescapable for second generation migrants as well. The predominant factors for unhappiness for immigrants are due to isolation and loneliness. These isolation and loneliness is not just limited to isolation from their new society, but also the underlying lack of communication between individuals in a marriage. Mrs. Sen is the most obvious character that is traumatised not just by the foreignism of the new culture, but also not positively affected due to the lack of communication between her and her husband. Lahiri candidly demonstrates the severity of Mrs. Sen’s loneliness: “I cannot sometimes sleep in so much silence.”, and the desolate fact that she is not living within a community where “one whole neighbourhood and a half of another” would come if someone “just raise your [their] voice a bit, or express grief or joy of any kind.” For Mrs. Sen “everything is there” – that is in India, and she is unable to assimilate into American society presumably even after quite a long period of time, even though the time that she had been in America is not specifically specified in the story. In addition, Mr. Sen, her husband by which she defines herself as “professor’s wife” is incapable of understanding her struggles in living in a foreign country, and her feelings of isolation and loneliness, simply expecting her to cope alone. This is shown through his lack of communication and physical contact with his wife. His lack of understanding for his wife is also displayed when he forces her to practice driving even though she fiercely refused. He does not try to understand and accommodate for his wife’s inability to perform the task, rather forces her to do it uncompromisingly. Mrs. Sen’s sudden question to Eliot “will you [Eliot] put your mother in a nursing home when she is old?” and her pessimistic insistence that he will “complain about visiting your [his mother], and you will get tired of it too, … then she will have to drag herself onto a bus just to get herself a bag of lozenges.”, illustrates her sense of vulnerability. Though it is not specified in the story on the number of offspring that Mrs. Sen has, it can be assumed that she does not have any offspring. She is relating herself to the mum who “have to drag herself onto a bus just to get herself a bag of lozenges.”, totally neglected and fendless without family or the broader community who cares for her.wMrs. Sen’s life in America encompasses isolation from the American society and the lack of affection from her spouse. The protagonist’s mother in “The Third and Final Continent” is destroyed by widowhood and is another example of the severity of damage loneliness and lack of love in one’s life can do to a soul. His mother was left to her...
...Out of all Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories in her book, Interpreter of Maladies, I think the story ”The Third and Final Continent” was truly inspiring and also the most positive perspective of an Indian immigrant brand new to America. Throughout the story the main character, who also functions as the narrator, remains nameless. This shows how Lahiri may be trying to represent any average Bengali immigrant’s experience. The narrator is the dynamic character of the story and is able to look back and show the reader how far he has come to accomplish his dreams.
From the very beginning of the story the narrator depicts a very burdensome life. After leaving his homeland of India, he describes the first place he lived in London as: ”a house occupied entirely of penniless Bengali Bachelors like [himself], at least a dozen and sometimes more and all struggling to educate and establish ourselves abroad”(Lahiri 173). This is the perfect example of the narrator’s determination to be successful in life and also the major hardships he will have to endure. This also portrays how the narrator accepts and is aware of his inevitable transformation through education and hardships. He knows that his struggles will eventually lead to the ultimate achievement of prevailing over three continents.
After surviving on the bare minimum in London for about five years the narrator is offered a fulltime job in...
...Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
The life in exile inevitably evokes a lot of problems an individual should face. However, often people are unprepared for numerous difficulties they may face, while being in exile that makes their life absolutely unbearable. In this respect, it is important to underline that people are forced to live in exile and if they are exiled they are forced to abandon their native country against their will. The cause of exile is due to political or punitive reasons. Jhumpa Lahiri, through the book, “Interpreter of Maladies" has illustrated the theme of exile quite well. Exile Various writers have explored the theme of being exiled. The exile experience, the question of identity, and the expatriate experience have furnished remarkable material in the world of fiction. Expatriation has increasingly become one of the crucial events of the contemporary world. In the “Interpreter of Maladies," the characters are faced with a common problem, referred to as maladies. All of them seem to be suffering from the difficulty of adapting to a new place and trying to forget the memories of the previous home country. The book entails a collection of few stories regarding different communities from South Asia. The novel interprets the emotional affection and affliction that was experienced by exiled people. When people are required to move from their original...
...Symbolism is an important factor in many stories. In “Interpreter of Maladies”, the author, Jhumpa Lahiri, uses the symbol to represent her idea. In the story, the main character, Mr. Kapasi, is an Indian tour guide who accompanies the Das family on their way to see the Sun Temple at Konarak. Mr. Kapasi is an intelligent and knowledgeable man. He was once fluent in many languages but now speaks only English. He wanted to be a diplomat once but now he works as an interpreter in a doctor’s office. Mr. and Mrs. Das are young couple with three kids. Mr. Kapasi feels that they are more likely to be brother and sister to the kids than parents. The story’s central conflict focuses on the marriage situation because both the protagonist, Mr. Kapasi, and the antagonist, Mrs. Mina Das, have unhappy marriage. In the story, Mrs. Das has the scrap of paper with Mr. Kapasi’s address on it. The symbolization of the scrap of paper changes over the time.
The scrap of paper symbolizes romance at first. On the way to the Sun Temple, Mr. Kapasi entertains Mrs. Das with his fantastic experiences from his interpreter job. The narrator indicates in the story that “he decided to tell Mrs. Das about another patient, and another: the young woman who had complained of a sensation of raindrops in her spine, the gentleman whose birthmark had begun to sprout hairs” (551). Although the reason that he entertains her is...
...Lahiri’s stories show the importance of communication in relationships. Discuss.
Interpreter of Maladies focuses on communication as one of the universal themes throughout the book. The stories demonstrate how communication is the key to the success or failure of relationships. While there are instances when communication is effectively employed and therefore enabled the characters to build strong and intimate connections, there are examples of where communication was superficial or ineffectual, leading to unstable, limited relationships. Jhumpa Lahiri illustrates the importance of communication within relationships by allowing readers to experience the consequences and advantages that have developed as a result throughout the short stories. We recognise the necessity to communicate with our loved ones vicariously through the lives of several of the characters.
Mr. Kapasi, the interpreter of maladies, has essentially lost the ability to communicate with his wife, leaving him to drink tea alone at night. Because of this the Kapasi’s find themselves in a loveless marriage. This kind of relationship also exists within the Das family. Mr and Mrs Das are unable to efficiently communicate because of the material barrier each has which prevents them from any form of contact. Mrs. Das often hides behind her sunglasses, while Mr. Das is kept away behind his guidebook. Because of the somewhat non-existent relationship...
...youWho are you?
Who am I? This question has often been asked during the growth of everyone. When we were young, studying in the kindergarten, we would probably answer the teacher with your name. But at the moment, I will think deeper than just the name given by my parent. We all have a different answer for a different age of ourselves, maybe when I become older I will change my answer again.
The reason why we have different answers towards this question is because of the interaction between person himself and the environment. According to Erikson's stages of psychosocial development, there would be psychosocial development due to continuous interaction between self, psychological, biological and societal. Moreover, normative psychosocial crises happen at different life stages that may affect people to clarify their own identities. Each life stage
Erikson proposed total eight stages. Besides the specific normative psychosocial crises in each stage, there is also a different significant relationship. The significant relationship may affect us the most compare with the others. For example when at the age of 0-2, mother was our significant relationship that feed us and gave us the basic trust. At my present age group (13-19 years), peers and role model affect me the most. I am at the stage of finding my identity, so I am trying to re-framing and re-considering myself by the...
...Short Response: Interpreter of Maladies
“When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine,” “A Real Durwan,” “Mrs. Sen’s,” “The Treatment of Bibi Haldar”
“When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine”
• Why doesn’t Mr. Pirzada ever come back to visit the family?
• Did Mr. Pirzada’s sudden return to Dacca change the speaker’s attitude or feelings towards people she lets into her life?
“A Real Durwan”
• Did Boori Ma really have all the lavish amenities that she said she did?
• Were the Dalas really going to bring back new bedding for Boori Ma?
• Why were the residents so hasty in passing judgment on Boori Ma’s character?
• What did Mrs. Sen like about the U.S.?
• Why did Eliot lie to his mom about Mrs. Sen’s change in attitude?
“The Treatment of Bibi Haldar”
• Who is the father of Bibi’s child?
• What was Bibi’s condition that could be cured by marriage?
“When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine”
• Maturing is a process in which naivety is replaced by experience.
“A Real Durwan”
• People are always searching to improve their lives, but this can cause people to loose their genuine character.
• It is difficult to assimilate into a new culture without unpleasant consequences.
“The Treatment of Bibi Haldar”
• In tough times, the weaker individual gets blamed for other people’s problems.
Passage: (“Mrs. Sen’s”)
“You must miss her. When I think of you, only a boy,...
...one of the most important things to us keep connected to other people. If we fail to communicate with others, we will fail in many ways such as failure in romance. In the book Interpreter of Maladies with the tittle “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri, the difficulty of communication becomes one of the problems. Mr. Kapasi feels lonely in his life and in his marriage because he lost his ability to communicate with his wife. However, Mrs. Das is a selfish woman that always hides behind her sunglasses most of the time. She doesn’t care about her family, her husband and her children. These two characters are drawn together because they both have troubled marriages. But if they still have the common sense to think about their own responsibility to their family, they shouldn’t get closer and become interested each other.
Mr. Kapasi believes that his life is a failure. He can’t have a successful marriage in his life because his marriage is arranged by his parents. His wife can’t forgive him because of the loss of their young son and also because Mr. Kapasi work for the doctor who failed to save their son’s life. His career is far away from what he dreamed might be happen. Because in his past, he got scholarship and diplomatic greatness so he hoped that he would be success in his career. But now, he only be a tour guide and an interpreter for a doctor. As a...
...Interpreter of Maladies
Practice Text Response Essay Topics
1. ‘Lahiri’s stories show the importance of communication in relationships.’ Discuss.
2. ‘Lahiri’s stories are much about much more than the migrant experience. They also explore ‘maladies’ common to all people.’ Doyouagree?
3. ‘Whilst all the characters in Lahiri’s stories carry burdens in their hearts, few are able to find peace within themselves.’ Discuss.
4. ‘A person’s identity and sense of belonging is intrinsically linked to their place of origin.’
To what extent do Lahiri’s stories support this view?
5. ‘Loneliness and isolation pervade the lives of many characters in these stories.’ Do any characters find a way out of this misery?
6. ‘In Lahiri’s stories, many of the characters struggle to find love.’
Why is love so elusive for them?
7. ‘Lahiri’s stories show that all people face challenges no matter where they live in the world.’ To what extent doyouagree?
8. ‘In seeking to improve their lives, some of the characters in the stories lose sight of what they truly value.’ Doyouagree?
9. ‘In Interpreter of Maladies the vulnerable characters invariably become scapegoats when life becomes difficult for others.’ Do...