Which of “The Seven Basic Plots” would you say the story “Interpreter of Maladies” most resembles? Why? At the same time, how does it challenge that plot structure and why? (150 words)

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Christopher Booker, the writer behind the theory of the seven basic plots, might suggest that the plot line that best suits Jhumpa Lahiri's short story "The Interpreter of Maladies" is the one of the quest.

The plot line of the quest, in a general sense, involves a journey. The Das family are on a journey themselves, as Indian-Americans traveling in India on holiday, but Mr. Kapasi's emotional journey is the more interesting one. As Mr. Kapasi's attachment to Mrs. Das develops, he goes on a quest to escape his present life; this life is full of sadness and disapproval, so his romantic interest in Mrs. Das, though fleeting, provides Mr. Kapasi with a temporary escape from this unhappiness. Mr. Kapasi's quest for a break from his unhappy life, complete with a plan to write letters to maintain the hope such a break entails, goes awry when he makes the mistake of introducing reality to his fantasy. Mrs. Das disappoints him with the story of her infidelity, and he takes it to heart, feeling an emotional response to this stranger that reveals more about Mr. Kapasi than anyone else in the story. In these moments, Mr. Kapasi realizes that his journey beyond his present life is coming to an end and that his present life is his only life.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial