A site for college students to write about women writers. The stories are centered around the assimilation and the integration of Indian and Indian American in the United States while sustaining their Indian culture. Indeed, the text even transcends national boundaries, being set in both India and the United States. When the story first begins, the reader senses uncomfortable tension between the couple through limited conversation with each other. Through this brief dialogue, the reader recognizes the repressed tension between the characters. Instead of addressing the miscarriage, Shukumar conveys his emotions by focusing on the minor or insignificant details of their lives.
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Summary Analysis Married couple Shoba and Shukumar receive a notice from their electric company that their power will be disconnected for five days from P. Shoba was pregnant with their child, but her due date was three weeks away, so she insisted that Shukumar go and make connections. While Shukumar was away, Shoba went into early labor and had to have an emergency C-section.
The baby was stillborn before Shukumar was able to get back. This first initial separation causes the couple to become communicatively distant with one another. He imagines Shoba handing juice boxes to their children in the backseat. The fact that Shukumar remembers the cab emphasizes the exact moment he chose to put physical distance between Shoba and himself, the cab figuring as both the literal and figurative vehicle through which Shukumar departed from Shoba and their unborn child.
Download it! They spend most of their time working—Shoba as a proofreader and Shukumar as a doctoral student writing his dissertation. Whenever possible, Shoba and Shukumar avoid being in the same space. Shoba suggests that they light candles. While Shoba is upstairs changing, Shukumar walks downstairs to brush his teeth.
She was the type to prepare for surprises, good and bad. Lahiri further underscores the extent to which Shoba has used planning and predictability to give her life meaning. Shukumar associates food and shared meals with happier times and intimacy; the fact that the couple no longer dines together suggests that they are no longer intimate.
Active Themes Related Quotes with Explanations Shukumar returns to the kitchen to finish dinner and search for candles. The only candles he can find are birthday candles, left over from a surprise party Shoba had thrown for him last May. Shukumar puts a lot of detail into dinner preparations the first night of the blackout, and the reader may connect this to his hope that a shared dinner might encourage the couple to finally open up to one another.
Active Themes Shoba, freshly showered, joins Shukumar at the table. The lights go off and the couple sits down to dine. The beginning of the blackout corresponds with the moment the couple sits down to eat.
A joke. A fact about the world. Shukumar agrees. By downplaying the seriousness of the bits of information they will trade back and forth, Shoba lowers the stakes and makes Shukumar feel at ease. Active Themes Shoba comes home early the next night and the couple is able to eat with the lights on. After dinner, when the power shuts off, they sit outside together, as it is unusually warm out. They bring candles and a flashlight with them and resume their game. Shukumar responds that he cheated on his Oriental Civilization exam in college.
They sit outside until the lights turn back on. Still, though, Lahiri reinforces that the couple only opens up when the lights are off. When the hour of the blackout ends, the return to their respective uncommunicative solitudes. The couple needs the safety and anonymity of darkness in order to feel confident enough to confide.
Shukumar realizes that the game is more than the mere exchange of jokes and stories Shoba first presented it to be. They are petty but not terribly inconsequential. They were able to talk to each other again. Without the safety of darkness, they remain distant and aloof with one another. Through this contrast, she seems to caution the reader against feeling too optimistic that the couple will move beyond their grief and alienation to repair their broken marriage.
Active Themes Related Quotes with Explanations On the fifth night, Shukumar finds a second note from the electric company informing them that the line has been repaired ahead of schedule: there will be no more blackouts.
She says they can still light candles, if he wants. Like the blackout, their dinners together will last only through the week. She sits back down at the table. Active Themes But Shoba is not pregnant this time. This was the point of her game.
He had black hair on his head. He weighed almost five pounds. His fingers were curled shut, just like yours in the night. The fact that Shoba and Shukumar have finally revealed their deepest, most vulnerable secrets to one another points in an optimistic direction, but their ultimate decision to turn away from one another and weep in darkness shows that they remain uncomfortable with vulnerability.
Charles, Carly. Retrieved December 31, Copy to Clipboard.
Interpreter of Maladies Summary and Analysis of A Temporary Matter
Shoba tells her husband this news. He looks at her, noticing that her makeup has run from her time at the gym. He reminisces about how she would look in the morning after a party in happier times. Shoba insists that the electric company should work on the lines during the day. Shukumar takes slight offense at this idea; since January, he has worked at home on his dissertation. The outages begin that evening.
A Temporary Matter
"A Temporary Matter" by Jhumpa Lahiri