Interpreter of Maladies

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Secrecy is a recurrent theme of Interpreter of Maladies. With reference to at least three stories, what are the causes and effects of this trait on the lines of the characters?

Secrecy is the act of hiding information from certain individuals or groups. Secrecy is often controversial, depending on the content of the secret, the group or people keeping the secret, and the motivation of secrecy. Jhumpa Lahiri’s anthology, “Interpreter of Maladies”, explores this theme through several characters in different stories. In the story Interpreter of Maladies, A Temporary Matter and Sexy, the characters hide their emotions and do not express themselves. Due to this, the relationships that they are involved in become dysfunctional. Mrs Das’s infidelity in Interpreter of Maladies puts a strain on her marriage. The secret affair she had with her husband’s friend causes her to hide behind her sunglasses and disengage with her family. She is selfish and self-absorbed, that she doesn’t realise how her actions would affect the others around her. This is demonstrated by her, when she refuses to share her food with her children, reluctantly taking her daughter to the bathroom and refusing to paint her daughter’s fingernails. She has not revealed her unfaithfulness to anyone apart from Mr Kapasi and as a result of this she feels the strain in her marriage only as her own pain. Mrs Das fails to recognise, the impact her affair takes on her husband and children. She openly mocks her husband’s enthusiasm for tourism and illustrates her lack of love for her husband. The puffed rice that Mrs Das scatters across the trail in India, represents her mistakes and careless actions. Physically Mrs Das is young and attractive, but she is spiritually empty. She does not love her children and husband and is caught in the boredom of her life as a housewife. This is evident, when monkeys surround Bobby and terrify him; she refuses to take responsibility to the situation, just as she refuses to...
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