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“Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri

University/College: University of Arkansas System
Date: January 6, 2018
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“Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri

Mania’s Secret In “Interpreter of Maladies,” Jump Alular uses Mina Dad’s red outfit as a way to represent an unfaithful woman, who is disconnected from her roots, and has fallen out of love with life. Her guilt from keeping a secret that one of her children is not from her husband, but from an affair, has caused her to act in a very distant and uncaring way. Through the family’s visit to the Sun Temple, and the hills at Daiquiri and Ganglier in India, accompanied by Mr.. Kappa’s, a Guajarati interpreter for a doctor and part-time tour guide, the author paints a picture of a woman who has rowan cold and disconnected from her feelings.

Because of the events that happened on this trip to her native land, she may have come to realize the error of her ways. Mrs.. Dad’s clothes have a symbolic meaning. She wore a red checked skirt and a blouse. “The blouse was decorated at chest level with a calico applique© In the shape of a strawberry” (256). The design on her shirt may not mean anything to her. It Is probably just for looks, but I think it does represent something about who she is. The color red is often considered to represent sex or lust. In this case, knowing about her infidelity, it makes sense that the strawberry may represent a marking similar to the scarlet letter.

It also alludes to the fact that even though she is of Indian decent, she really Is an American. I’m sure the way she Is dressed is not very common for an Indian woman In India. Mrs.. Ads consistently showed irresponsible and negligent behavior toward her children. In one example, the couple bickered about who would take their daughter Tina to the bathroom. After this short pause in their trip, Mr.. Kappa’s locked the doors to make sure that it was safe to get going again. As soon as the car began to move again, the little girl began to play with the lock on her side, clicking It with some effort forward and backward, but Mrs..

Ads said nothing to stop her. She sat slouched at one end of the back seat, not offering her puffed rice to anyone” (257). She was either not aware of the danger or she just didn’t care. As they left on their way to the Sun Temple, the children spotted monkeys and were very excited because they had never seen monkeys outside of a zoo. Mr.. Ads asked to stop the car so that he could take a picture. “While Mr.. Ads adjusted his telephoto en’s, Mrs.. Ads reached Into her straw bag and pulled out a bottle of colorless nail polish, which she preceded to stroke on the tip of her index finger” (258).

While Mr.. Ads and the two boys were fascinated by the sites, she is more consumed with herself. It is also apparent that her uncaring behavior is rubbing off on her daughter. At this same time, the little girl wanted to get her nails done too. When Mrs.. Ads refused, “the little girl occupied herself by buttoning and unbuttoning a pinafore on her doll’s plastic body” (258). In this situation, the little girl was Just as disinterested It did not seem that Mrs.. Ads was interested in anything on the trip so far. She was wrapped up in herself, completely indifferent to what was going on.

But she suddenly became interested in Mr.. Kappa’s when he explained to her that his main Job was not as a tour guide, but that during the week he worked in a doctor’s office interpreting the ailments of Guajarati speaking patients. Mr.. Kappa’s did not think anything special about his profession, but Mrs.. Ads thought differently. She thought it was romantic, but at first she couldn’t express why. After learning more about what he did, she explained to him, ‘”these patients are totally dependent on you… Len a way, more dependent on you than the doctor'” (260). Mrs..

Dad’s interest and romanticizes of Mr.. Spain’s Job flattered him. He started to think that maybe there was a possibility that him and her could be together. Wrote, “She did not act in a romantic way toward her husband, yet she had used the word to describe him. He wondered if Mr.. And Mrs.. Ads were a bad match, Just as he and his wife were. ” (261). Mr.. Kappa’s had begun to see similarities in both their lives, and he questioned his own marriage. Her sudden interest in him, an interest she did not express in either her husband or her children, was mildly intoxicating. When Mr..

Kappa’s thought once again about how she had said ‘romantic,’ the feeling of intoxication grew” (261). Mrs.. Dad’s wandering sexuality had infiltrated Mr.. Kabuki’s conscious. He began to check his reflection in the mirror and occasionally glanced at Mr.. Dad’s breasts, among other things. He told more stories about the patients he had interpreted and Mrs.. Ads continued to show interest. When they stopped for lunch, Mr.. Kappa’s headed toward a table to sit alone, UT Mrs.. Ads mad him feel welcome and insisted that he sit at their table. They all enjoyed lunch together and Mr..

Ads took a moment to photograph Mrs.. Ads and Mr.. Kappa’s together. Then Mrs.. Ads asked for Mr.. Spain’s address so that they could send him copies of the pictures. He began to think of all the possibilities of things they might talk about when she began writing him. He thought, “In time she would reveal the disappointment of her marriage, and he his. In this way their friendship would grow, and flourish” (262). She had awakened feelings he had not had for a long time. He was infatuated with her. After writing his address down on a piece of paper, Mrs.. Ads placed it in her bag.

When the Ads family and Mr.. Kappa’s finally arrived at the Sun Temple, Mr.. Kappa’s explained the sites around them. Mrs.. Ads was interested in the nude statues. “She stopped every three or four paces, staring silently at the carved lovers, and the procession of the elephants, and the topless female musicians beating on two-sided drums (263). When Mr.. Kappa’s looked at the topless women he realized he had never seen his own wife fully nude. “He had never admired the backs of his wife’s legs the ay he now admired those of Mrs.. Ads… ” (264). Mr.. Kappa’s felt the lacking in his own relationship once more.

As they continued their visit, Mr.. Kappa’s thought more about what may lay ahead when Mrs.. Ads began writing him. He even calculated when he might hear from her. When he realized that their time together was almost over, he suggested that they visit the hills at Daiquiri and Shanghaiing. He bought some more time to pursue Mrs.. Ads. Refused to leave the car. Mr.. Ads and the children continued on ahead. When Mr.. Kappa’s went to Join them, Mrs.. Ads asked him to stay. Alone in the car, Mrs.. Ads told him that Bobby was not Mr.. Dad’s son. Mrs.. Ads never told this to anyone before.

She explained to him that she and her husband had known each other since they were very young, that their parents were friends and they had gone to school together. She told him how she was overwhelmed in her marriage by having a child so quickly. The friends she had stopped calling her, and she was left alone with her baby. She told him how Bobby was conceived when one of Raja’s friends came to stay for a week. “She made no protest when the friend touched the small of her back as she was bout to make a pot of coffee, then pulled her against his crisp Ana suit.

He made love to her swiftly, in silence, with an expertise she had never known, without the meaningful expressions and smiles Raja insisted on afterward” (267). Because of her situation, this was probably Just the thing she was looking for, and she did not fight it. Mr.. Kappa’s asked her why she told him about this. She explained that it was because he was an interpreter and wanted him to him to say something about her problem. Mrs.. Ads went on to say, ‘”I’m tired of feeling so terrible all the time. Eight years, Mr.. Kappa’s. I’ve been in paid eight years.

I was hoping you could help me feel better, say the right thing. Suggest some kind of remedy'” (268). Mrs.. Ads misunderstood Mr.. Spain’s Job. She saw him as a way to help her interpret her problem. “He looked at her in her red plaid skirt and her strawberry T- Shirt, a woman not yet thirty who loved neither her husband nor her children, who had already fallen out of love with life” (268). Mr.. Kappa’s saw who she really was. She wasn’t perfect. She wasn’t who he built her up in his mind to be. He could have told her what she wanted to hear, but e was insulted because of what she expected from him. He decided to begin with the most obvious question, to get to the heart of the matter, and so he asked ‘Is it really pain you feel, Mrs.. Ads, or is it guilt? ‘” (268) She was angry and was about to insult him, but felt that Mr.. Kappa’s wasn’t even important enough to insult, so she left the car. The truth was not what she wanted to hear. As Mrs.. Ads got out the car she was trailing puffed rice. “It fell through her fingers, leaving a zigzagging trail, causing a monkey to leap down from a tree and devour the little white grains. In search of more, the monkey began to follow Mrs..

Ads” (269). More monkeys followed and Mr.. Kappa’s wanted to warn her but was afraid to cause a panic. In one of the first times she showed any concern for her children, Mrs.. Ads realized she didn’t know where her son Bobby was. They found him under a tree surrounded by over a dozen monkeys. “The puffed rice Mrs.. Ads has spilled was scattered at his feet, raked over by the monkeys’ hands” (269). Because of her negligence, Bobby was now being attacked. She had made a mess and now her son is paying for it. This is symbolic of what has happened in her real life, because of her infidelity.

She had forgotten all about Mr.. Kappa’s. She was only concerned with getting back to the hotel safe. As she brushed her son’s hair, Mr.. Spain’s address fell out of her straw bag and floated away. Her family. She did not face the secret that she kept for so many years and it ate her up inside. By internalizing all her thoughts and not expressing them to anyone, her family paid through her uncaring and hard heartened ways. When she realized that her son Bobby was in danger, she may have finally woken up and realized the things that were important in her life.

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