Interpreter of Maladies

Topics: Marriage, Love, 175 Pages: 4 (1626 words) Published: July 24, 2013
Symbolism is an important factor in many stories. In “Interpreter of Maladies”, the author, Jhumpa Lahiri, uses the symbol to represent her idea. In the story, the main character, Mr. Kapasi, is an Indian tour guide who accompanies the Das family on their way to see the Sun Temple at Konarak. Mr. Kapasi is an intelligent and knowledgeable man. He was once fluent in many languages but now speaks only English. He wanted to be a diplomat once but now he works as an interpreter in a doctor’s office. Mr. and Mrs. Das are young couple with three kids. Mr. Kapasi feels that they are more likely to be brother and sister to the kids than parents. The story’s central conflict focuses on the marriage situation because both the protagonist, Mr. Kapasi, and the antagonist, Mrs. Mina Das, have unhappy marriage. In the story, Mrs. Das has the scrap of paper with Mr. Kapasi’s address on it. The symbolization of the scrap of paper changes over the time. The scrap of paper symbolizes romance at first. On the way to the Sun Temple, Mr. Kapasi entertains Mrs. Das with his fantastic experiences from his interpreter job. The narrator indicates in the story that “he decided to tell Mrs. Das about another patient, and another: the young woman who had complained of a sensation of raindrops in her spine, the gentleman whose birthmark had begun to sprout hairs” (551). Although the reason that he entertains her is to make her smile, she sees him as a professional problem solver as she listens “attentively”. She is interested in what he does at his job, and comments his job as “romantic”. However, Mr. Kapasi’s wife is never interested in his job. The narrator mentions, “She never asked him about the patients who came to the doctor’s office, or said that his job was a big responsibility” (550). Mr. Kapasi wants to be a good role model in his family, but his wife never admires his job. When Mrs. Das describes Mr. Kapasi’s job as “romantic”, “the feeling of intoxication grew” ( 551). Mr....
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