Identity and Belonging

Topics: Jhumpa Lahiri, Short story, Sigmund Freud Pages: 4 (1509 words) Published: August 19, 2011
‘Interpreter of Maladies’ explores how one culture adapts to living with another.’ Discuss.

In Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story collection ‘Interpreter of Maladies’, the writer silhouetted the adaption of one culture to live within another in the form of allowing differences to exist and reaching a compromise. Lahiri drew the readers into the witness of different people battling with the obstacles they encounter. While some people like Mrs Sens, fell to the abysm of culture-displacement because of her unwillingness to adjust herself into the new society; whereas for individuals like Mr Kapasi, are stopped by the hindrance of misunderstanding on the way of bridging the culture gap. However, tolerance can resolve the difficulty in the coexisting culture, which is evident in the marriage of Sanjeev and Twinkle. To begin with, the unwillingness to adapt into a new culture will not allow two cultures to live with one another. This stance was clearly built up in Lahiri’s depiction

In Interpreter of Maladies a couple is navigating between the Indian traditions they've inherited and the baffling new world in which they grew up in.   The Dases hire an old-fashioned Indian guide, Mr. Kapasi, to drive them out to the Sun Temple in Konarak, India.   Mr. Kapasi, conversant I nine languages, informs the family that he also works as an interpreter for a doctor.   Because her family has their fair share of problems, Mrs. Das confides in Mr. Kapasi to help solve her unhappiness.   Mr. Kapasi is at a loss as to how he should "interpret" her secret.   Finally, Mr. Kapasi just asks Mrs. Das a question, "I beg your pardon, Mrs. Das, but why have you told me this information?" (Lahiri 200) Mr. Kapasi's feelings towards Mrs. Das grew as the day went on, but soon finds out that Mrs. Das is just looking for a good time like her other affair back home. Mr. Kapasi finds it odd that Mr. Das would call his wife by her first name when talking to his daughter and interprets this behavior as a...
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