The Interpreter of Maladies Analysis

Table of Content

Many children in the world are born and raised into cross-cultural lives, and Jhumpa Lahiri is one such example. Her life experiences greatly influence the symbolism, themes, and styles present in her writing.

Being raised in America, she was heavily impacted by both Indian and American culture, resulting in her identity as an Indian American. Jhumpa Lahiri’s personal experience as an Indian American is reflected in Lilia’s challenges with cultural differences in “Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine,” as well as Mr. Kipasis’ viewpoint on Mrs.

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In “The Interpreter of Maladies,” both Das and the American culture are explored. Meanwhile, Miranda’s personal struggles and fascination with the Indian culture are portrayed in the story “Sexy.” In “Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine,” Lilia grapples with the conflicts and challenges that arise from being exposed to both American and Indian cultures through her family, media, and encounters with Mr. Pirzada.

Her mother is grateful that her daughter can experience a peaceful country without the violence and daily hardships she faced during her own childhood in India. She is proud that her daughter will have a secure life, access to education, and numerous opportunities. Her parents, on the other hand, had to endure limited food supplies, curfews, riots, and even took extreme measures like hiding neighbors in water tanks to protect them from gunfire.

Lilia’s mother and father have conflicting opinions about her education. Her mother supports Lilia’s choice to avoid learning about violence in other countries and shield herself from adult issues portrayed in the media. However, this leaves Lilia curious about other regions of the world and why she isn’t being educated about them. On the other hand, Lilia’s father strongly disagrees with her mother’s perspective, worrying about what knowledge she is gaining about the world.

In Lahiri’s “The Interpreter of Maladies,” the protagonist’s father expresses his concern about what his daughter is learning in school, questioning, “What is she learning?” (Lahiri 27). He strongly believes that she should be taught about the true history, misfortunes, riots, government issues, moral and ethical problems, and real-world occurrences, rather than the textbook explanations filled with fabricated stories about Columbus and the history of America. The clashing of cultures and sexual desire between two characters serve as the central themes in the story. Additionally, the Das family stands out conspicuously in the country of India.

Lahiri (43, 44) described a family that appeared to be Indian but dressed like foreigners, with the children in stiff, vibrant clothes and caps featuring see-through visors. These descriptions highlight the contrast between Indians and Indian Americans in terms of behavior, attire, and presentation. This portrayal of clashing cultures may reflect Lahiri’s own experiences as a child and her decision to incorporate it as a theme in her writing. Furthermore, the text mentions the presence of desire between Mr. [Insert remainder of the sentence here].

Kipasi and Mrs. Das both have significant roles in the story. Kipasi finds himself admiring Mrs. Das’ legs in a way he never did with his wife, as she walks as if she is doing it solely for him.

According to Lahiri (58), while the narrator had witnessed naked limbs from American and European ladies on his tours, Mrs. Das stood out as distinctive.

Kipasi gazed at Mrs. Das with desire, recognizing her as a potential companion in his solitude. However, Mrs. Das did not return his gaze.

Kipasi is not seen by Mrs. Das with desire, but rather as someone who could assist her with her own problems and act as a positive male role model. She views him as someone who can understand and help with her personal afflictions or difficulties. Mrs. Das is in a desperate need for someone to lend an ear and aid her, therefore she does not hesitate to place her trust in Mr.

Kipasi. The story “Sexy” follows Miranda, a young, free, aimless woman, who finds herself involved in an affair with a married man. Despite the moral implications of this relationship, Miranda is unable to resist her desire for him.

According to Lahiri (89), Dev stood out from the boys Miranda had dated in college and high school. Unlike them, he always paid for things, held doors open, and even kissed her hand across a table at restaurants. He was also the first to bring her flowers and passionately whisper her name during intimate moments. This special treatment emotionally captivated Miranda, although Dev’s attraction to her was primarily physical. Miranda, not accustomed to such treatment from men, found herself falling in love.

Reflecting on her past relationships, she portrays them as immature connections. However, after experiencing a true relationship, Miranda cannot fathom settling for anything less, even if it means being involved with a married man like Dev. She believes that being with Dev will transform her and help her mature into a woman. In anticipation of their affair, while Dev was at the airport, Miranda went to Filene’s Basement to purchase items she believed a mistress should possess.

Within this excerpt from Lahiri’s text, Miranda purchases various items of clothing for herself. She discovers a pair of black high heels adorned with buckles smaller than those found on a baby’s teeth. Additionally, she finds a satin slip boasting scalloped edges and a knee-length silk robe. In contrast to her usual choice of pantyhose for work, she uncovers sheer stockings featuring a subtle seam. The significance lies in the fact that this is the first time a man has deemed her sexy, and even with her eyes closed, she can still feel the lingering sensation of his whispered words coursing through her body and beneath her skin. Ultimately, by acquiring these garments, Miranda is engaging in a form of playacting, reminiscent of a dress-up scenario.

While striving to be authentic, she is also navigating the journey of maturity and womanhood. Dev’s comment about her being sexy had a profound influence on her, shaping her perception of how men view her. This made her constantly crave that same feeling. She believed that by dressing provocatively, she could potentially alter how men perceive her in future relationships, aiming to recreate the sensation Dev had ignited within her. Jhumpa Lahiri encapsulates her life experiences through her writings.

Some of these stories her readers may never know the exact details but can predict how her life relates to some of the characters. Her personal experience as an Indian American is conveyed through Lilia’s cross-cultural struggles in “Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine,” Mr. Kipasis perspective on Mrs.

Both Das in “The Interpreter of Maladies” and Miranda in “Sexy” depict personal struggles and a fascination with different cultures, particularly Indian culture. These aspects of Lahiri’s novels are widely appreciated by diverse audiences, making her a beloved author.

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The Interpreter of Maladies Analysis. (2017, May 28). Retrieved from

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