Page 1 of 3

The Story “Interpreter of Maladies”, by Jhumpa Lahiri

Continues for 2 more pages »
Read full document

The Story “Interpreter of Maladies”, by Jhumpa Lahiri

Page 1 of 3
Fantasy vs. Reality
The story “Interpreter of Maladies”, by Jhumpa Lahiri, the major theme is self-reflection. The main characters Mr. Kapasi and Mrs. Das, dwell on there past but once they meet they both were looking for excuses to move on. In comparison, the story “Half a Grapefruit” by Alice Munro has to do with the same concept, if you read in between the lines. Rose sees herself better than the people that surround her. She tries very hard to be better than them, but does not succeed. However, it makes her feel better about herself and her life in general, just like Mr. Kapasi and Mrs. Das are trying to better their lives. In the two stories, the authors illustrate the struggles to find happiness within their main characters lives; to stop living with regrets of the past, they both show that only an escape from reality will result in a realization of their meaningful existence.

The female characters in both stories are alike in some ways. They believe in a similar life style. Mrs. Das lives the life style that Rose fantasizes to have, which makes them similar in an odd sense. “Puffed Rice in the summertime”(Munro 41). Throughout the tour Mrs. Das snacks on Puffed Rice, just as Rose pretends to have for breakfast, “She walked slowly, carrying some puffed rice tossed with peanuts and chili peppers in a large packet made from newspaper”(Lahiri 60). Even though Mrs. Das’ puffed rice is packed in newspaper, which means she probably bought it at the hotel, it still seems to be a common thing to eat for wealthy people, especially during summer times according to both stories. Rose wants to be someone she is not. She truly wishes to be at a higher rank than the people in her town. This is likely to be the reason why Rose listed it in the breakfasts, because she believes it is a fancy food to eat, such as half a grapefruit is, “The first morning the Puffed Rice, light as pollen, came spilling into the bowl, was as festive, as encouraging a time as the first day...