The Short Story Cycle Interpreter Of Maladies By Jhumpa Lahiri

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Throughout the world, various groups of people value a wide variety of different things. In the short story cycle Interpreter of Maladies, the author Jhumpa Lahiri explores the importance of food and meals in Indian culture. This is illustrated through the connections her characters form with cultures, places, or even other people as a result of food. In certain cultures, such as that of India, food is an essential element of life. This is illustrated in the story “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine”, in which Mr. Pirzada shares many meals with Lilia’s family. Upon meeting Mr. Pirzada, Lilia assumes he is Indian, because he “ate pickled mangoes with [his] meals,” and “ate rice every night for supper with [his] hands” (Lahiri 25), which are both…show more content…
For Mrs. Sen, cooking and eating fresh fish creates an association to India, which for her, is where “everything is” (Lahiri 113). Mrs. Sen also associates cutting food with her blade to her life in India. One of the most prominent and detailed descriptions of where she is from occurs when she is discussing the blade with Eliot, of which in India, there is “at least one in every household” (Lahiri 115). Mrs. Sen fondly describes to Eliot how when she lived in India, on the occasion of a big event, the neighbourhood women would gather, “laughing and gossiping and slicing fifty kilos of vegetables through the night” (Lahiri 115). The idea that food can create an association to a specific location is also demonstrated in “A Temporary Matter.” Shoba recounts her experience in India with power outages, and eating with the lights off, comparing it to the meals she shares with Shukumar. The thought of dining in this fashion, without the luxury of electric light reminds her of her home, where “during power failures at [her] grandmother’s house, [they] all had to say something” (Lahiri 12). This tradition from her home is what causes her to suggest that she and Shukumar do the same. The two texts emphasize that both the type of food that is eaten, as well as the way it is eaten, can work to create a connection between a

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