Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews December 15, 2022
December 8, 2022
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
To develop characters in “Interpreter of Maladies,” Lahiri layers small, specific details in her descriptions of each character, giving them depth and richness. From the first paragraph of the story, details such as the bickering about who will accompany Tina to the bathroom and the fact that Mrs. Das does not hold Tina’s hand tell us that Mr. and Mrs. Das are at odds, at least in some small way, and that Mrs. Das is a somewhat careless mother. These details are important because the narrator tells us few explicit facts about the Das family. Rather, we must infer information about them from the way they act. We learn about Mr. Das’s distance and willful ignorance from his picture taking and absorption in his guidebook, and we learn about the children’s insolence through small behaviors, such as Tina’s playing with the car locks and Ronny’s approaching the goat with gum. Mr. Kapasi infers what he knows about the Das family from the same set of details.
The small pieces of information that we have about Mrs. Das almost overwhelm her big confession toward the end of the story. What we know of her character is based less on the substantial knowledge that she has committed adultery with her husband’s friend and borne a child of the affair and more on the less significant fact that she does not share her puffed rice with her children or husband, does not care to be in the photographs they take at the monastery, and wears insensible shoes while she goes sightseeing. Mrs. Das is, with Mr. Kapasi, the most important character in the story, but what we know of her comes from the fact that she wears sunglasses, wears a shirt with a strawberry on it, shaves her legs, and carries a large, overstuffed purse. By providing so many small, specific details, Lahiri vividly portrays Mrs. Das but also allows for some ambiguity. Mr. Kapasi perceives the same details but misconstrues what they mean about Mrs. Das, mistakenly believing that she shares with him some problem or connection.