What is the impression of the characters in the short story "Interpreter of Maladies"?

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rdb919 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lahiri's story, "Interpreter of Maladies," is set in India and centers around a man, Mr. Kapasi, giving a tour to the Das family, and Indian-American family. Lahiri contrasts the characters in a cultural clash, with Mr. Kapasi representing old, traditional India and the Das family representing a family of Indian descent but raised in the U.S. so they are very 'American.' The author shows the differences between the characters. Mr. Kapasi is quiet and conservative while the Das children and wild and loud, and Mrs. Das is either disconnected or spilling all of her secrets. Much of the action of the second half centers on Mrs. Das and her interest in Mr. Kapasi as an interpreter. She tells her secret to him and is disappointed in his reaction. Her behavior reveals her to be shallow and self-centered. She is also portrayed as unhappy, a trait Mr. Kapasi shares. However, while they are both unhappy in their marriages and lives and romanticize a kind of escape from those lives, at the end of the story, they are ultimately two very different types of people.

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Interpreter of Maladies

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