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A Temporary Matter


Lawrence Kim

on 15 June 2011

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Transcript of A Temporary Matter

A Temporary Matter by Jhumpa Lahiri The title alludes to both the power outage and their marriage. Although the power outage was only a temporary matter, it truly brought Shoba and Shukumar together once again. Their relationship had been torn apart by the birth of a stillborn baby. Deciding to be candid towards each other, Shoba and Shukumar make a series of confessions that begin to confirm the fact that their marriage isn’t quite working out. The power outage makes Shoba and Shukumar realize that their marriage is also only a temporary matter. Title's meaning Confessions As the days pass, confessions become more personal and revealing of the fragile state of Shoba and Shukumar's relationship

Shukumar forgot to tip the waiter on his first date with Shoba because he was distracted by the weird feeling that he would marry Shoba
When Shukumar’s mother came to visit, Shoba said that she had to stay late at work but instead went out with a man named Gillian and had a martini.
Shukumar cheated on his Oriental Civilization exam in college
The sweater-vest that Shoba bought for Shukumar for their third wedding anniversary was exchanged for cash so that Shukumar could get drunk from it.
Shoba had once let Shukumar talk to the chairman of his department without telling him that he had a dab of paté on his chin.
Shukumar once ripped out of a photo of a woman in one of the fashion magazines she used to subscribe to and carried it in his books for a week
Shoba never liked the one poem he’d ever published in his life, in a literary magazine in Utah.

Last confession (after they decide to separate):
The stillborn baby was a boy. Shukumar had held his dead son until a nurse knocked and took him away. Confessions serve as an indicator of the status of the couple's relationship. As confessions become deeper, Shoba and Shukumar's relationship becomes more strained and emotional, which results in them reliving their past by having physical contact and making love. Darkness Darkness acts as a sanctuary for Shoba and Shukumar. Only under darkness are Shoba and Shukumar able to have a healthy relationship. It is also where nearly all the confessions are made. As soon as the lights come back on, Shoba and Shukumar truly separate, their relationship disintegrating as soon as it escapes the safety provided by darkness. Their marriage pre-pregnancy They get along very well, and enjoy each other's company.

Shoba throws elaborate parties and enthusiastically cooks for Shukumar.

Shukumar was nearing the end of school, and Shoba offers to help him dissect his dissertation.

Shoba keeps on top of all the housework and pays bills as soon as they arrived in the mail.

In general, they have a satisfying marriage. Their marriage post-pregnancy Shoba becomes detached and loses her former enthusiam.

She becomes consumed with her work.

The two try to stay on separate floors of the house and avoid any contact with each other.

Their meals are mostly microwaved or simple stovetop dishes.

Conversation becomes stilted and awkward.

Their marriage becomes an uncomfortable union. Diaspora There really isn't much example of a diaspora. Shoba and Shukumar act as a normal couple in the United States. In this story, Indian culture isn't really a big element, as the story is mostly concentrated on the idea of marriage itself. Jhumpa Lahiri writes with a very mellow, casual tone that give her story a genuine feel.

She describes many of the more perfunctory things that Shoba and Shukumar do, exemplefying the "show, don't tell" rule of writing taught since elementary school.

This method illustrates the stark difference between the atmosphere of the marriage before and after Shoba's pregnancy.

The tone while describing the happy days before her pregnancy is hopeful and carefree as the young couple holds dinner parties and looks towards the future.

However, after Shoba's pregnancy, the tone of her and Shukumar's interactions becomes rather weighed down and indifferent.

Finally, the tone during the couple's nightly confessions turns emotional and passionate as they reveal their deepest secrets to each other.

Through the changing tone of the story, we as the audience experience the evolution of Shoba and Shukumar's relationship from happiness and bliss to indifference and awkwardness to their final cartharsis by candlelight before they leave each other. The Effects of Tone THE END ^_^ Theme: Sometimes uncontrollable and unforeseen events can completely shake up somebody’s world to the point where they take drastic measures they never envisioned taking.
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