What is a thesis that I could use to describe the difference between Miranda in "Sexy" and Mrs. Das in the chapter "The interpreter of Maladies" from the book "The Interpreter of Maladies"?...

What is a thesis that I could use to describe the difference between Miranda in "Sexy" and Mrs. Das in the chapter "The interpreter of Maladies" from the book "The Interpreter of Maladies"? (Compare and contrast essay)

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hi there! Jhumpa Lahiri's 'The Interpreter of Maladies' consists of nine short stories, among them 'Sexy' and 'The Interpreter of Maladies.'

A possible thesis statement about the contrast between Miranda and Mrs. Das would be:

While Miranda realizes that having an affair with a married man will never bring her the happiness and contentment she desperately wants, Mrs. Das is oblivious to the consequences and ramifications of her affair.

Here are some supporting statements for the thesis above to help you with your essay:

Mrs. Das in Interpreter of Maladies

Her thoughts about her husband:

She is married, but undeniably disappointed with the state of her marriage. She is contemptuous of her husband and is easily irritated with him:

Isn't this an air-conditioned car?" she asked, still blowing on her hand. "Quit complaining," Mr. Das said. "It isn’t so hot." "I told you to get a car with air-conditioning," Mrs. Das continued.."Why do you do this, Raj, just to save a few stupid rupees. What are you saving us, fifty cents?

Flirting is possibly the only way she knows of to assuage her personal discontent. She flirts with Mr. Kapasi under her own husband's nose so that he is initially intrigued by the possibilities of a relationship of sorts with her.

Her sudden interest in him, an interest she did not express in either her husband or her children, was mildly intoxicating.

While she listens intently to Mr. Kapasi describe his occupation as a doctor's interpreter of maladies, she does not bother to hide her admiration of his intellectual prowess, of the necessary display of accuracy and careful thought  in his chosen profession:

Unlike his wife, she had reminded him of its intellectual challenges. She had also used the word "romantic." She did not behave in a romantic way toward her husband, and yet she had used the word to describe him.

She is oblivious of her own husband's presence and starts to imagine a relationship with Mr. Kapasi.

Her experience with Mr. Kapasi showcase her apathy about her actions.

She sees him as a possible dalliance and sets to manipulate him into sympathy for her. She tries to confide in Mr. Kapasi about her personal suffering in a loveless marriage. In telling Mr. Kapasi of an affair which produced her son, Bobby, she is oblivious to Mr. Kapasi's obvious discomfort in his body language as well as his speech: he tries to make her see that he cannot help her with a 'malady' that only she can diagnose and take the proper measures for. She continues trying to seduce him, her attraction only subsiding when she realizes that he expects her to take some personal responsibility for her own predicament. For her part, she is seeking some relief from her pain and grief, but does not want what Mr. Kapasi eventually suggests.

Mr. Kapasi, I’ve been in pain eight years. I was hoping you could help me feel better, say the fight thing. Suggest some kind of remedy.

He decided to begin with the most obvious question, to get to the heart of the matter, and so he asked, "It really pain you feel, Mrs. Das, or is it guilt?"

Her careless indifference to her own children, products of her union with Mr. Das.

She ignores both children and is not interested in interacting with them. Although she buys a puffed rice snack, she does not bother sharing them with her children or husband. Her self-absorption is eventually apparent to Mr. Kapasi, but not to her; in fact, she always has her sun-glasses on, a metaphor for her own blindness: her views about her husband, children and Mr. Kapasi are distorted, but she refuses to acknowledge her own self-absorption.

Notes: Hope this gives you an idea of how to approach the topic of Mrs. Das. You can use any supporting text from the short story to show her apathy, her indifference and her desperate emotional struggle and refusal to come to terms with her own actions: this is why she does not come to the same conclusions as Miranda in 'Sexy.' You might also discuss the cultural divide: Mr. Kapasi is aghast at Mrs. Das' imminently more liberal western view of adultery.

 Miranda in 'Sexy'

With Miranda, start by talking about her personal reasons for a clandestine relationship with a married man. She is intrigued by Dev's exotic Bengali heritage and he in turn, is fascinated by her American beauty, so different from that of his own Indian wife's. Dev tells Miranda that his wife resembles a Bollywood actress, Madhuri Dixit. Only later when she curiously goes to an Indian grocery in Central Square does she find out how beautiful Indian actresses really are. This shatters her sense of peace. How does a man with a beautiful wife commit adultery? Dev tells her she is sexy and later on, so does Laxmi's little son. She is faced with the damage Rohin's father's adultery is inflicting on Rohin's sense of normalcy. Rohin is seven, and when he asks Miranda to put on the sexy silver dress she bought to try to impress Dev, she does so, but later on, can't stop herself from crying. She sees from a little boy's warped sense of sexuality what adultery inflicts on innocent parties. She loses her attraction for a dalliance that will never promise her the kind of cherished love that she wants. So, Rohin is the catalyst for her turning; Mr. Kapasi could have been a catalyst for Mrs. Das' change of heart, but she is too absorbed in her own pain to realize it.