Jhumpa Lahiri is an Indian American author who likes to write mainly about the experiences of other

700 Words3 Pages
Jhumpa Lahiri is an Indian American author who likes to write mainly about the experiences of other Indian Americans. She is a very successful author. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her first novel and her fiction appears in The New Yorker often. One of those works from 1998 is a short story, “A Temporary Matter”, about a husband and a wife, Shukumar and Shoba, whose electricity will be temporarily cut off for one hour for five days. This seems simple enough, but as you read the story you find that maybe it’s their marriage that might be the “temporary matter” itself. The title is interesting from the beginning. It gives us hints about the setting, the characters and their situation, as well as plants the whole theme of the story. The…show more content…
You immediately catch on that this is a big part in why they are having marital problems; they are both extremely overwhelmed with grief. Shukumar is so overwhelmed that he seldom leaves the house whereas Shoba is so overwhelmed but stays away from the house as much as she can. The house reminds her of her loss. Shukumar even says that she treats the house as if it’s a “hotel” and that she “began putting in extra hours at work”. Shukumar and Shoba’s grief have led them to withdrawing from one another. Until the nightly power outages, they avoided each other as much as possible. Shukumar even stays in the room he knows Shoba doesn’t want anywhere near because the baby’s crib was once there. Symbolism can be seen in the power outages. When the power is off, Shukumar and Shoba become intimate and share things with one another. The darkness represents their safe place and the relationship they once shared before the loss of their child. But as the title explains, this is only “temporary”. The power outages will only happen over a period of five days and after that everything will go back to the way it was. The loss of the baby symbolizes the turning point for their marriage. After the loss of their child, things quickly began to change. We know this because Shukumar is constantly reminiscing and going back to how his wife “once” looked or how she “once” cooked. “A Temporary Matter”, focuses so much on the little things and dances around the
Open Document