Prof. Michelle Gonzales
February 12, 2013
Gender Roles in Transition
The bond of marriage and the ideals of a family are always changing. Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies describes several short stories presenting generalizations of Indian Culture as situated in India, as well as in America. “This Blessed House” tells the story of a newly wed Indian American couple as they settle into their new home in America. “Sexy” tells the story of an American woman and her affair with a married Indian American man. Indian Culture dominates themes as characters either grow closer or further away from the values that define them. Lahiri uses gender roles to show how relationships are changing for the Indian diaspora in America. She depicts traditional female gender roles in transition, away from traditional Indian culture in “This Blessed House” toward the changing diaspora in “Sexy”. Upon moving into their new home in “This Blessed House”, Twinkle begins to find catholic relics hidden throughout the house. The discoveries of these items quickly turn into a hunt as Twinkle searches every corner of the house to find more. Twinkle’s excitement coming from her scavenger hunting begins to contradict the values of her and Sanjeev’s culture. Upon finding the porcelain Christ figure at the opening of the story, she refers to Sanjeev and herself as “good little Hindus”(Blessed 137). Even though the figure of Christ is a catholic artifact, Twinkle feels the need to keep it. As she finds more catholic relics, she still keeps them despite her husband’s requests. By going against her husbands will, she is breaking the traditional role of wife so important to their culture. Upon finding a Statue of the Virgin Mary, Twinkle implores Sanjeev to allow her to display it on their front lawn, but Sanjeev refuses; “But we must. It would be bad luck not to. Every other person in this neighborhood has a statue of Mary on the lawn. We’ll fit...
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