Identify the use of symbolism in "A Temporary Matter" by Jhumpa Lahiri.

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Lahiri's story is about emotional estrangement and the difference between our external lives and internal emotional states. Her story is brimming with detail, but the detail about their house—like the William Morris calendar they got for a Christmas present, even though they didn't celebrate Christmas that year—is opaque. It is a symbolic representation of their outer lives, decorous but empty.

The power outage and the game Shoba proposes in which they reveal "something new" about themselves is also symbolic. Both these characters are "in the dark" in the sense that they have lost their ability to emotionally connect. It is ironic that the dark is what gives them that chance to "see each other" in ways that they choose to avoid when the lights are on, but the real twist is that their sharing is ultimately another kind of avoidance. The missing thing, the topic they cannot discuss, is their dead baby; Shoba's feelings around her pregnancy are unsaid, and Shukumar's knowledge of his...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 726 words.)

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