Aparna of “Hell-Heaven” and the grandmother of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” are two completely different characters. Aparna is young and committed to her role as a mother and wife while the grandmother is older and strives only to fulfill her immediate desires Though they are characters very much unlike each other, they both fulfill their prospective author’s goal to inspire emotion in a reader. Both Aparna of “Hell-Heaven” and the grandmother of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” evoke strong emotions from the reader throughout each of the two stories.
Aparna is a traditional Bengali housewife that had been transplanted to the United States. When the story begins, the reader can’t help but to feel sorry for the loneliness that Aparna must be feeling. She is in a country which thrives on a culture that is very different from the one which she is familiar with. Her husband is engulfed by his work and Aparna is left to entertain herself daily. She has few friends in the United States and nothing to occupy her time. Lahiri writes “…I would return from school and find my mother with her purse in her lap and her trench coat on, desperate to escape the apartment where she had spent the day alone.” As the plot continues, the reader is given hope of Aparna’s impending happiness when she meets Pranab.
Pranab is a Bengali man that has moved to the United States in order to pursue a degree from M.I.T. He too is lonely and finds solace in the company of Aparna. Aparna begins to fall in love with Pranab for the reason that she enjoys his youth and perhaps, more so, the way he dotes on her. As the author writes about the experiences that Aparna has with Pranab, the reader feels joy. The reader is elated to find that Aparna is no longer consumed with loneliness. This feeling of content is short lived when Prahab finds a girlfriend and slowly disconnects from Aparna.
Once again, the reader is overwhelmed with emotions of empathy for Aparna. The reader...
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