Portrayal of Male Characters in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Selected Short Stories

Topics: Jhumpa Lahiri, Short story, Fiction Pages: 32 (9846 words) Published: January 12, 2012


This study analyzes the male characters in Jhumpa Lahiri’s three selected short stories. The formalistic theory chosen to dissect the texts has enable readers to be objective in their interpretation by separating the elements of theme, plot, point of view and the setting of the story. By concentrating only on the characterization factor, the characters of each of the male characters were revealed. Using the formalistic theory, this study had objectively looked into the appearances of the characters and their relationships with wives and daughter in the stories. The main findings exposed their meticulousness in observing the female characters, at the same time, revealing the bitterness of their marriage relationship.

Chapter One


Background of the Study

The purpose of this study is to find out how Jhumpa Lahiri portrays the male characters in three selected short stories. In a gentle manner, Lahiri lends her voice to male and female in her first book, Interpreter of Maladies and her second compilation of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth. It is interesting how a mother of two children had taken the challenge to position herself in the shoes of male and to loan her thoughts to them in an elegant way. Calm and composed, the male characters in the three short stories are depicted as soft-spoken men who tackle conflicts one step at a time.

Lahiri’s male characters are usually economical with their words. Most of the time, they are keeping to themselves and always on monologue mode. Readers, regardless of their gender, feel the male characters are truly revealing their emotions, speaking to them alone and very much connected to what they are experiencing at that moment.

The pattern of relationship between the male characters and the female characters is also an aim of this study. Males would look at an issue differently, as compared to females. In this modern world, issues of failing marriage seems significant to the youngsters. Marriage frustrations, bickering and arguments are spices in a relationship; however, it does add value to lives, depending on how we look and react to it.

Scope of the Study
Two books have been chosen in this study. The first book is Interpreter of Maladies and the second book is Unaccustomed Earth. Two short stories have been chosen for the analysis, namely, Interpreter of Maladies and Third and Final Continent. The other story is Unaccustomed Earth, the title story from the book itself.

Research Questions
This study is able answer the questions that emerged from the three selected short stories. The questions are as stated below:

1. Who are the male characters in the study in each of the short stories? 2. What are their similarities and differences in each of the short stories? 3. To identify how Jhumpa Lahiri describes the male character’s relationship with its female characters in each of the short stories.

Objective of the Study

The objective of this study is to:

1. To analyze how Jhumpa Lahiri portrays the male characters in three selected short stories; and 2. To describe the relationship the male characters with the female characters in three selected short stories

Summary of Chapters

The remaining parts of this paper are divided into four more chapters, specifically: |Chapter 1 |: |Introduction | |Chapter 2 |: |Discussion on Literature Review | |Chapter 3 |: |Methodology to conduct the study | |Chapter 4 |: |Analysis of Findings | |Chapter 5 |: |Conclusion of the study and...

References: Guerin, Wilfred L. et. al., 1999. A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Lahiri, Jhumpa, 2008. Unaccustomed Earth. Alfred A. Knopf. New York.
Lamarque, Peter, 1996. Fictional Points of View. Cornell University Press, Sage House, New York.
Murfin, Ross C and M. Ray, Supriya, 1997. The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms. Boston, Bedford Books.
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