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Interpreter of Maladies

Jhumpa Lahiri

Character List

Plot Overview

Analysis of Major Characters

Mr. Kapasi -  The Indian tour guide who accompanies the Das family on their trip. Mr. Kapasi was once fluent in many languages but now speaks only English. He once dreamed of being a diplomat but now works as a translator in a doctor’s office, a job he acquired when his young son died from typhoid. Mr. Kapasi lives in a loveless, arranged marriage and no longer sees himself as a potential object of interest for women. He entertains fantasies about Mrs. Das but is ultimately horrified by her confession of infidelity and self-absorption.

Read an in-depth analysis of Mr. Kapasi.

Mrs. Mina Das -  The self-absorbed wife of Mr. Das whose infidelity has isolated her from her husband and children. Mrs. Das cares only about herself and her needs and has little true connection to the people around her. After having an affair eight years ago and conceiving Bobby, she never told Mr. Das or Bobby the truth. Her need to confess her past transgressions horrifies Mr. Kapasi.

Read an in-depth analysis of Mrs. Mina Das.

Mr. Das -  The middle-school science teacher who hires Mr. Kapasi to accompany the family on their trip. Mr. Das takes a voyeuristic interest in India and its people, not really connecting with his surroundings except through his camera and guide book. Mr. Das is a passive, ineffective parent, incapable or unwilling to reprimand his children for misbehaving. In a moment of crisis, when Bobby is surrounded by monkeys, he fails to do anything but accidentally take a picture of the scene.
Bobby Das -  The younger Das son, who is not actually Mr. Das’s child. Bobby does not resemble Mr. Das physically or temperamentally. He is surly and treats Mr. Das disrespectfully.
Tina Das -  The young Das daughter. Tina whines and misbehaves, seeking her mother’s attention and failing to get it.
Ronny Das -  The eldest Das child. Ronny does not listen to his parents, preferring to do what he wants to do.

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