Interpreters Of Maladies Essay

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Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story Interpreter of Maladies hinges on the irony arising out of the strange encounter between a romantic tourist-guide-cum interpreter of maladies and a second-generation couple of Indian diaspora in U. Guilty of adultery, she wants a confessor to unburden her heart and suggest penance, if any.

When the interpreter is asked to play the confessor at the end of the story by the young attractive Mrs Das, he is awakened from his romantic reverie that her compliments have a ulterior motive.

”(66) She even regarded him as a father figure whereas Mr. It is only at the end of the story that the readers and Mr. It is the compulsive urge to confess her youthful adultery and find a remedy that she turns to the middle-aged interpreter. Kapasi’s sex-starved soul develops a romantic infatuation encouraged by her admiration of his unusual vocation.

Das cherishes romantic feelings as she jots down his address and promises to send him photographs. Das hopes to receive letters about her personal as well as social life and he also intended to write about the social and personal life, thus becoming a interpreter of two different cultures. Kapasi come to terms with the truth that she wants to use him as a confessor for “her common, trivial little secret. 66) which she has successfully guarded from everybody for eight years. At her request he tells her many amusing anecdotes from his experience as the interpreter.

But the confessor refused to offer any remedy as it is beyond his two vocations of tour and interpretation of maladies. Das may have repented her impulsive unfaithfulness, but the professional interpreter finds no gap in language; therefore no role for him to play. Kapasi works as a tourist guide on Fridays and Saturdays; he works as an interpreter to Gujarati patients for a local doctor who does not understand that language. Das perceives an intoxicating power associated with his job as his patients absolutely depend on his interpretation “In a way, more dependent on you than the doctor. His linguistic skill in English, French, Russian, Portugese, Italian, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya and Gujarati means little to her; he is no more than a doctor’s assistant. She wants to use him to get rid of her sense of guilt. “It crushed him; he knew at that moment that he was not even important enough be properly insulted.

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The readers enjoy the technique of gradual unraveling of the truth and Mr. ”(66) Then it emerges that she even regards him a father figure good for confession and counsel whereas Mr.Das are shattered as the piece of paper on which his address was written “fluttered away in the wind. Das wanting at once to leave the place which gives her the creeps. Das gradually degenerates into a common self-centered person absorbed only in her own sin and atonement. Kapasi is rewarded with the picture of Das family firmly imprinted on his mind. Interpreter of Maladies literature essays are academic essays for citation.Kapasi, focusing more on his thoughts and feelings, the writer remains a detached observer of their conflicting interests: each trying in vain to secure happiness from the other.It is the growth and changes in the central characters that make the story worthwhile. Das tells him gratuitously that the brave Bobby was not Mr.As the story reaches its climax, she emerges as a clever dissembler who possesses little sensitivity. Kapasi comes to know the truth and is disillusioned, the husband Mr. Das remains in the dark about his wife’s extramarital affair and the real father of his son, Bobby. Kapasi’s hopes of a romantic pen-friendship with Mrs. Kapasi is also delighted to find that unlike other foreign tourists who remain glued to their guidebook and adore temples, she has taken an interest in him. He remarks: “In a way we have a lot in common, you could say, you and I. ” (46) Ironically, both the interpreters are manipulated by a woman who plays false with them. It is also evident that the two interpreters in Mrs. Das’s life are conveniently maneuvered by her beguiling charm.


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