Symbolism In Interpreter Of Maladies By Jhumpa Lahiri

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In the short story, interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri incorporates symbols to help the reader better understand the relationships that are shown. The symbols vary from objects to actions. Often times these symbols can be overlooked and rendered meaningless, but with intent examination they can help us better understand the story and the relationships that are portrayed.

Interpreter of Maladies is a story centered around a family and their tour guide. This family includes a Mrs. Das, Mr. Das and their 3 children. They are visiting India and have a guide named Mr. Kapasi. After learning about Mr. Kapasi’s second job as an interpreter, Mrs. Das takes a sudden interest in him. This leads to him having fantasies of them becoming closer
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It can be said that Mr. Das sees the world through the lenses and misses the reality of his marriage and the world around him. He seems to be content with posed snapshots, oblivious to the fact that his wife has fallen out of love with him and has been carrying immense guilt with her for the past years. Not only does it seem that Mr. Das is out of touch with the state of his marriage it also seems that the camera symbolizes his ignorance to the state of the world. “Mr. Kapasi pulled over to the side of the road as Mr. Das took a picture of a barefoot man, his head wrapped in a dirty turban, seated on top of a cart of grain sacks pulled by a pair of bullocks. Both the man and the bullocks were emaciated.” (49) Most people if they were to see this would feel immediate sadness or would feel compelled to give money to this man. The fact that Mr. Das takes a picture of this shows just how out of touch his is with the world and makes readers feel frustration towards Mr. Das and his lack of empathy. The fact that he is unobservant influences his marriage and leaves his wife in pain, a pain that will only get stronger as time goes on. The symbolization that Lahiri incorporates helps us get a better view on how Mr. Das sees his relationship and the

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