Continuities and Discontinuities in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies
Elena Stoican (University of Bucharest) [BIO]
Starting from the peculiarities of diasporic visions, the paper investigates the construction of (Indian) female Identities in Lahiri’s collection of short stories Interpreter of Maladies. I am interested in seeing to what extent exile is perceived as a rupture or a step forward and if/how imaginary Indian homelands shape the transnational experience. The intersection of roots and routes in the diasporic/transnational scenario constructs a permanent tension.
The paper will discuss how this tension is reflected in each story. Since all stories capture moments of a woman’s life, the paper will analyze whether one can identify an overall pattern of identity negotiation or whether each case presents itself as unique. Another idea to be discussed is the impact of Otherness on Indian female identities. Several questions lie at the core of my study: To what extent is the experience of displacement empowering or confusing? What are the differences between different generations of Indian female immigrants? What kind of female subject do the stories reveal, whether placed in India or outside it?
Without claiming to get final conclusions, the paper will launch hypotheses regarding Lahiri’s diasporic vision of Indian females abroad or at home.