A Temporary Matter, Interpreter Of Maladies By Jhumpa Lahiri

1128 Words 5 Pages
From the fortune tellers in the ancient time to weather reporters we have now, people’s curiosities in their nature stimulate them to explore the coming unknowns, and the expectations they put on the future events are usually based on two things: what they wish for and what they know about. Since the former is highly subjective, and the latter is often limited, things don’t always turn out to be what we thought they would be. In “A Temporary Matter”, “Interpreter of Maladies” and “The Blessed House”, Jhumpa Lahiri uses irony in the titles of the stories to emphasize the sharp contrast between the fantastical expectations of the characters and the actual reality they have to face.
In “A Temporary Matter”, the husband, Shukumar, has the expectation
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Kapasi has a fantasy about Mrs. Das who seems to appreciate his job as the interpreter of a doctor, but indeed she just wants to get comfort from him. After Mrs. Das comments that his job is romantic, he has a “feeling of intoxication”(Lahiri 53). Mrs. Das’ words strongly fulfill his ego since his wife and even himself think his job is a sign of failure, and that’s the major reason that he falls for her. As he starts to develop a series of fantasies about how they are going to have a secret relationship and write to each other, he interprets all the action that Mrs. Das takes as the sign that she is interested in him as well, so he can continue to create the story about their love affair in his mind. Thus, when he finds out that she mistakes his job for a real doctor and just hopes “[he] can help [her] feel better” (Lahiri 65) from cheating on her husband by suggesting “some kind of remedy”(Lahiri 65), he feels insulted. This feeling comes from his realizations that Mrs. Das doesn’t really appreciate his job because she does not even know what it is, and also that all the actions she took before do not mean anything like he thought, but rather simply show that she wishes he can help her to get away from her guilt of cheating. Therefore, his fantasies that derive from his personal interpretations are disillusioned. As an interpreter, he doesn’t interpret things correctly when the problem is on himself. His job as an interpreter of maladies …show more content…
Before he meets his wife Twinkle, he thought he would have a stereotypical Indian wife “who [can] sing and sew and season lentils without consulting a cookbook”(Lahiri 145), unlike her. However, they fall in love so fast and quickly get married, he does not even think about this at the moment when he is driven by his passion about starting their new life together. Also, such a short period of time doesn’t really allow them to know each other well enough. Therefore, they always have disagreements after they get married because he is a rule follower, but she is more modern and open-minded. She can’t achieve the expectations he has, and he can’t understand her weird thoughts. He hates the silver Christian statue she finds in their house, and “most of all he [hates] it because he [knows] that Twinkle [loves] it” (Lahiri 157) since he knows that if she loves it, he has no choice other than let her keep it. He always compromises and never really tries to change her. While she just needs to happily be herself, he has all kinds of internal struggles because letting her be who she is means that he needs to break his own rules and abandon his own idea about how a wife should be like. Their uneven contribution to their marriage will unbalance their relationship, and what

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