Examine the significance of the title, "A Temporary Matter."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The title holds significance on a couple of fronts.  The first would be the "temporary matter" of the power cuts in the evening.  This establishes the basis for the plot of the story.  This is temporary as, by the end, electrical power is restored, while the power of love becomes absent.  Another understanding of the "temporary matter" could be the seeming emotional and physical intimacy of Shoba and Shukumar during the power outages.  It seems as if there is a greater closeness developing between both.  Yet, this is also temporary.  Shoba's rehearsed delivery of breaking up with Shukumar and his disclosure to her as a response clearly demonstrates that the emotional connection that might have been forged or the intimacy that appeared to be formulated was, in fact, temporary.  Finally, I think that  the nature of emotional commitment in the world of Shoba and Shukumar is revealed to be one in which everything is a "temporary matter."  It does not seem as if their relationship was really ever one in which there was a permanent and lasting connection.  The death of their child did not really forge a connection between them, moving them even closer to a "temporary" state.  The fact that Shukumar operates in a state of introverted being while Shoba is more active with her work and being out of the house feeds the idea that their entire relationship was a "temporary matter."  The ending in which both are poised in the dark, weeping with what it is they now know helps to bring to light that the only non- temporal condition in their relationship is the hurt and sadness that will accompany them like a shadow in their own darkness.


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