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Interpreter of Maladies

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Tim Nolan

on 18 February 2013

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Transcript of Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies Me Tim Nolan
English Domain Team Leader
Ave Maria College, Aberfeldie

Sixth year of teaching
"Interpreter of Maladies" is now in its fourth year at the College

timothy.nolan@avemaria.vic.edu.au * short stories
* something different
* contemporary and traditional
* prose is understated, rich with
description and just beautiful Must be studied as a whole text, not stories on their own Studying a text in this Area of Study Students should have a good understanding of the "glasses" with which to view a text.

Consider that an author wants to communicate things to the reader.

How does the author equip the reader to interpret their messages? "Interpreter of Maladies" is great for this! Each of the stories have many of these aspects, and there are distinct links between stories in the collection.

Let's have a look at the text itself. Ways into the text Students should have at least a basic understanding of India and its people

Some focal points for activities: •Diaspora;
•Courtship/marriage conventions (specific to Hindus);
•Hinduism, and the role it has in the lives of the people;
•Gender and women;
•Independence/British influence;
•Food; and
•Poverty/Classes/Caste systems. The stories A Temporary Matter
When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine
Interpreter of Maladies
A Real Durwan
Mrs. Sen's
This Blessed House
The Treatment of Bibi Haldar
The Third and Final Continent Up close: Mrs. Sen's The themes Women finding their place in the world
Society and hierarchies
Truth and ignorance
Religion Viewing texts using the right glasses Characters
Theme/motif Narrative features Archetypes Misplaced woman
Disconnected husband
Distant mother
Neglected child "Eliot, if I began to scream right now at the top of my lungs, would someone come?" "I have a meeting in twenty minutes... please don't waste time." "...but eventually she went to the deck to smoke a cigarette, leaving Eliot to wrap up the leftovers." "Eliot looked out the kitchen window, at gray waves receding from the shore, and said that he was fine." Facing new worlds The disconnection explored in this story is felt by most, if not all characters.

Both Mrs Sen and Eliot are forced to face foreign worlds. You do not have to be displaced physically to feel disconnection from your home.

The reader realises that Eliot is probably just
as lonely as Mrs Sen. Themes and motifs in this story * Women finding their place
in the world
* Disconnection/connection
* Gender
* Food
* Clothing
* Home The motifs Food
Home and belonging
Autumn and cycles
Perspective of a child
Perspective of an observer/spectator "By my estimate Mrs. Sen should have her driver's license by December."

"Mr Sen teaches mathematics at the university."
"...she used a blade that curved like the prow of a Viking ship, sailing to battle in distant seas."

"...she took whole vegetables between her hands and hacked them apart: cauliflower, cabbage, butternut squash. She split things in half, then quarters, speedily producing florets, cubes, slices, and shreds. She could peel a potato in seconds." "She flung open the drawers of the bureau and the door of the closet, filled with saris of every imaginable texture and shade, brocaded with gold and silver and threads."

"For the occasion Mrs. Sen put on a red sari and red lipstick; she freshened the vermilion in her part and rebraided her hair."
"The mention of the word seemed to release something in her... she looked around the room, as if she noticed in the lampshades, in the teapot, in the shadows frozen on the carpet, something the rest of them could not. 'Everything is there.'"

"Though she stood plainly before him, Eliot had the sensation that Mrs. Sen was no longer present in the room with the pear-colored carpet." Perspective of a child Affords the story a certain level of innocence and honesty
Observant and unbiased
Lack of adult reasoning, making the narration candid Language Lahiri uses language to convey to her reader mood and atmosphere.

Make sure students consider the
imagery that is illustrated. "She told Eliot she'd received a letter over the weekend. Her grandfather was dead."

"...manipulated the automatic gear shift as if it were an enormous, leaky pen."

"But when the town approached, and traffic lights loomed on wires in the distance, she went even slower."

His mother nibbled Mrs. Sen's concoctions with eyes cast upward, in search of an opinion. She kept her knees pressed together, the high heels she never removed pressed into the pear-colored carpet."

"But when he sat with Mrs. Sen, under an autumn sun that glowed without warmth through the trees..."

"Eliot looked out the kitchen window, at gray waves receding from the shore, and said that he was fine." Enjoy this text! It's in its last year :(

Feel free to contact me

timothy.nolan@avemaria.vic.edu.au Let's read!
pages 112 -113
Full transcript