In Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter Of Maladies, what's a good topic that can ground an in-depth analysis of the stories and their use of literary devices? Thank you!!

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teachsuccess | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Hello! A good topic to explore would be that of conflict, especially between both Indian and American cultures, in the lives of the characters in Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter Of Maladies.  Lahiri's book is composed of a variety of short stories. Most of them explore the above topic I just mentioned. In the short story "Interpreter of Maladies," we see how Mrs. Das' unhappiness is fueled by her dissatisfaction with fulfilling the traditional Indian roles of wife and mother. In "Sexy," we explore the ramifications of adultery when a white woman has an affair with a married Indian man. In "When Mr. Pirzada Came To Dine," we read about Mr. Pirzada, who is in America, having been awarded a grant by the government of Pakistan to study the foliage in New England. The story details how he corresponds with his wife and daughters and how he is eventually reunited with them in Pakistan. The Partition of India and Pakistan leads us to think about "how Hindus and Muslims had set fire to each other's homes." Again, we are on the same topic of a clash of two very different cultures, this time Hindu and Muslim. The fact that Mr. Pirzada, a Muslim, eats at the table of Lilia's family, who are Hindus, is nothing short of miraculous.

In "This Blessed House" we read about Twinkle and Sanjeev, who quarrel about the religious Christian icons they find in their new home. While Twinkle is filled with happiness and wonder at what she finds, Sanjeev worries about what the neighbors will think, as they are Hindu and not Christian.

There are nine stories in "Interpreter Of Maladies," and one of the stories bears the same title as the title of the book. The topic of conflict, therefore, is very appropriate for in-depth analysis of the following themes:

1) religious conflict (Hindu and Muslim, Hindu and Christian)

2) marital conflict and the difference between traditional and modern concepts of marital satisfaction

3) conflict between parents (older generation) and children (younger generation) who possess different views on preserving Indian culture and embracing American life

Hope this helps. Thanks for the question.

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