Interpreter of Maladies

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“Lahiri shows that miscommunication and unexpressed feelings lead to misunderstanding and cultural displacement”

The anthology “Interpreter of Maladies” written by Jhumpa Lahiri explores the concept that miscommunication and unexpressed feelings have negative outcomes on people as well as relationships, leading to misunderstanding, displacement and enforcing departure of what is known. Forming nine short stories revolving around themes of identity and rediscovering ones true roots, alienation between those who are culturally displaced, danger of romanticism and assimilation of immigrants experiences as they all struggle to adapt to their new enforced life, learning to cope with their partners and rediscover who they are in a foreign country they now call home.

In the story ‘sexy’ the social pressures forced upon Miranda are evident as she is in a state of confusion as she is sleeping with a married man, she knows that morally she is doing the wrong thing although she stated that “without the wife there it didn’t seem so wrong”. Although feeling guilty, she “knew what it’s like to be lonely” when with Dev, Miranda felt a sense of belonging “he was the first to call her sexy” though her experience with Dev was exhilarating and full of lust, their relationship was mainly based on secrets and miscommunication; this leads to misapprehension as they are not allowing themselves to know each other on a personal level, as Dev, not wanting to complicate his life, as their relationship is only an affair to him. She gets a different field of emotions and due to miscommunication is left confused and left in the dark, alone, as she knows that she is being used, knowing their relationship has led to a dead end, much like Shoba and Shukumar in ‘A Temporary Matter’.

Communication is the most common way to learn about your heritage and each other. The absence of this can lead to confusion and an emotional displacement, a sense of not knowing who you really are. When...
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