Interpreter of Maladies

The Detrimental Effects of Diaspora in The Interpreter of Maladies College

Do geographical demarcations define one’s identity? This question is especially poignant for people from post-colonial nations exiled from their homelands. A recent article on diaspora asserts that “Diaspora brought about profound changes in the demographics, cultures, epistemologies and politics of the post-colonial world” (Silva 72). The effects of diaspora and exile are exhibited in Jhumpa Lahiri’s collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies. Many of the stories in Lahiri’s collection are set against the backdrop of the India-Pakistan War and the Partition of India in 1947 during which India and Pakistan were geographically divided into two separate nations (Keen). In particular, the stories “A Real Durwan” and “When Pirzada Came to Dine” display the significant impact that the war and division had on the identities, culture, and relations of Indian and Pakistani people at the time. While both of the stories dramatize the experience of diaspora, Lahiri also shows how each character’s experience is unique to their specific context. For example, in “A Real Durwan,” the main character, a poor woman named Boori Ma, remains in India, and displays the...

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