How do Mrs. Das from "Interpreter of Maladies" and Miranda from "Sexy" compare to each other? How are they different?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is very good question to begin your thought process with a compare and contrast essay.  In fact, both of these characters, Mrs. Das and Miranda, can be compared quite easily, especially with the following quotation:

A woman who had fallen out of love with her life.

This quote describes both Mrs. Das and Miranda so perfectly, it's almost a shame to reveal that it was originally spoken of Mrs. Das. 

Further, the two main characters of "Interpreter of Maladies" (Mrs. Das) and "Sexy" (Miranda) have many comparisons.  Both of them are at least somewhat unhappy with their status in life, especially in regard to how they feel about their bodies and self-images.  Mrs. Das is no longer in love with her husband, even though they are on a family vacation to India.  She admits this to their tour guide, Kapasi, when she is finally in the car with him alone. 

She watched his lips forming the words, at the same time she heard them under her skin, under her winter coat, so near and full of warmth that she felt herself go hot.

It is Kapasi who is labeled by Mrs. Das as the "interpreter of maladies" as she asks for his advice, but she is upset by his response about the differences between guilt and pain.  In "Sexy," Miranda is quite young and moves alone to Boston.  Her married lover is the first "man" she has met and the first person to call her "sexy."  She longs to hear that quality in a description of herself from another.  She longs for the same affirmation as Mrs. Das does.  A further comparison of the two characters is the end result of the interaction with the men. 

It was only then, raising my water glass in his name, that I knew what it meant to miss someone who was so many miles and hours away, just as he had missed his wife and daughters for so many months.

Mrs. Das simply leaves and tends to her children, the note with Kapasi's written phone number blowing away in the wind.  Miranda also leaves and discovers herself anew within her new city of Boston.

In conclusion, we must admit that there are a few differences in the characters as well.  Mrs. Das is married (and probably a bit older) and has children while Miranda is quite young and in the work force of Boston.  Mrs. Das does NOT have an affair with the enamored Kapasi, whereas Miranda DOES have an affair with a married man.  Mrs. Das feels comfortable with Kapasi and reveals many secrets, but isn't told of Kapasi's infatuation.  Miranda IS told she is "sexy" by her married lover.

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Interpreter of Maladies

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