Mr. Kapasi is the protagonist in “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri. In this short story that is narrated in limited omniscient, Mr. Kapasi is the smart Indian man in his late forties that has lost romantic values in his marriage. Mr. Kapasi is detail oriented and posseses a lot of attributes such as: observance, hard working, modesty, dependability, intelligence and above all, he is very meticulous in his physical appearance. He is educated, works two jobs where he uses his lingual abilities, and lives daily without affection from his wife. He is quick to point out the differences and similarities between tourists and himself.
Mr. Kapasi begins to develop a romantic interest in Mrs. Das, and carry’s on a private conversation with her during the trip, a fantasy that he does not enjoy in his marriage and thus imagines a future correspondence with Mrs. Das, picturing both of them building a long distance relationship and a pen pal friendship. When Mr. Kapasi was driving Mr. and Mrs. Das around town, he paid less attention to his driving but kept glancing through the rear view mirror and admiring the exotic beauty of his passenger.
Mr. Kapasi who is self educated, was once fluent in French, Russian, Portuguese and Italian but spoke only English. In a series of notebooks, before his parents settled his marriage, he had listed the common etymologies of words, and at one point in his life he was confident that he could converse, if given the opportunity, in English, French, Russian, Portuguese, and Italian, not to mention Hindi, Bengali, Orissi, and Gujarati” (75). He once dreamed of being a diplomat but now works as a translator in a doctor’s office, a job he acquired when his young son died from typhoid. Mr. Kapasi lived in a loveless, arranged marriage and no longer saw himself as a potential man of interest for women. He entertained fantasies about Mrs. Das but was later horrified by her... [continues]
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