Interpreter of Maladies

The Proper Balance of Indian and American Culture 9th Grade

In Interpreter of Maladies, the book of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri, the protagonists are often in an unknown place. The reader can gain insight into the characters based on how they act during while in an uncomfortable situation. In the short story “Mrs. Sen”, Mrs. Sen is unable to find the right balance between her Indian heritage and American culture, while the protagonist in “The Third and Final Continent” is successful in striking a gooda balance between the two cultures.

In the short story “Mrs. Sen”, Mrs. Sen holds onto her Indian heritage through her material Indian possessions. She did not want to leave India in the first placea and cannot let go of her homeland. Throughout the story, Mrs. Sen expresses her love for the fish in Calcutta. While the fish from her local grocer is indeed fresh and reserved for her, She constantly remarks that the fish is not as fresh in America. For Mrs. Sen, the fish is not just food, rather, it’s a piece of India. In her mind, India will always be superior to America. She did not choose her new country or its new fish. Moreover, Mrs. Sen displays her culture through her traditional cutting blade and her saris. She constantly is using the blade because it reminds her of gatherings...

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