Interpreter Of Maladies By Jhumpa Lahiri

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There is no doubt a family vacation is a time for bonding and relaxation but that is not what happens in Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story “Interpreter of Maladies.” In principle, a vacation is a binary concept that involves contrast in order to happen: the “we and them”, the familiar and the unfamiliar, and the “here and there.” As the Das family visits India Lahiri makes use of these dualities to tell the story. She explores the idea of physical space to enhance the tension between her characters and show that the Das family vacation is anything but relaxing. According to Vera and Ansgar Nünning, characteristics of a short story include “careful selection, reduction and compression in the presentation of characters and the spatial and temporal…show more content…
Kapasi speaks English he becomes a tour guide to foreigners. This gives him the ability to contrast his world to theirs, his “here” is the tourist’s “there”. Ryan argues: […] the most fundamental human experience consists of apprehending oneself as a body located in space. […][Contrasting] Words […] organize space using the body as a point of reference (section…show more content…
Kapasi observes and describe the family, his annoyance is also perceptible. Mr. Das and the children, aside from being described as Indian looking Americans, receive an indifferent description. To Mrs. Das he is not so forgiving: “She was a short woman, with small hands like paws […] (Lahiri 46). Ryan supports that a pause in the narrative action allows the reader, through description, a more detailed glimpse of spatial frame (section 8, paragraph 1). The reader is also awarded a physical description of Mr. Kapasi which serves to intensify his own strangeness to the Das family, his clothes and mannerism show him to be just as foreign to them as they are to him. Lahiri’s discourse not only describes but also conveys the character’s feelings and that is one of the strategies listed by Ryan in order to minimize the narrative pause description demands (section 8, paragraph 1). Through the rearview mirror the disconnection of the foreign Indian family is apparent. They seem bored and irritated: the mother is distant, the father is indifferent and the children seem unruly and without direction. Lahiri gives the car a narrative function (Nünning, Nünning 129) and reinforces the tension making use of the immediate spatial frames (Ryan, section 3a). It is in the car, when the family is in most physical closeness that their emotional distance is heightened. A family that might as well have been strangers taking a bus ride and their interactions seem constricted and
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