The Interpreter of Maladies and the Yellow Wallpaper

TheInterpreter of Maladies and the Yellow Wallpaper

Narrativesare one among the most used tool in teaching literature and values.In these two narratives handled below: the interpreter of maladiesand the yellow wallpaper, many tools of language have been employedto fittingly convey the information intended.


Theessay will be handling the different themes, symbols and imagery, theplot, character development and other literature tools that have beenwell used by the narratives.


Theinterpreter of maladies revolves around a family that is on vacationin India. They hire Mr Kapasi as their chauffeur to take them around.They stop at a tea stall where Mrs Das takes their daughter Tina to abathroom. Mr Das find some time to discuss with me kapasi about theirnationality and his teaching carrier. Later my kapasi involve in adeep discussion with Mrs kapasi. In their discussion, Mr Kapasidiscloses how he feel frustrated by his current job as an interpreterbecause of the bitter pain memories of the death of his son that itbrings to his wife. Afterwards, Mrs Das exposed her problems when shelearns that Mr kapasi was an interpreter of maladies. She disclosesthat she had had a relationship with Mr Das’ friend and had theirson as a result but Mr Das knows not. She hopes that the interpreterof maladies would help her find help. In the process Mr Kapasidevelops some interest in her[ CITATION Lav12 l 2057 ].

Inthe yellow wallpaper, the narrator is with his husband who is alsoher doctor on a summer holiday. The narrator senses something weirdabout the house they take for the holiday. She is suffering from somedisease called nervous depression. In the bedroom where she is nursedis yellow wallpaper that starts to bother her. Her condition onlyallows her to do so little and is required to stay or lay. But shesees on the contrary that activity together with freedom is theactual treatment for his illness[ CITATION Cha12 l 2057 ].The more her husband refuses her to leave the room, the more shebecomes exposed to the yellow wallpaperand the more she meditates on it. She finally starts to see somedilutions of a woman struggling around from behind the wallpaper. Asher obsession grows, she sees the woman trying to come out of thepatterns and out of the wallpaper. She sees herself as that womantrapped in the wallpaper.

Imageryand symbolism

Thetwo narratives employ imagery and symbolism in several places. MrKapasi sees a strawberry shaped calico on the blouse that Mrs Daswears. This is symbolic. A strawberry is a delicious fruit that ishighly desirable. It symbolizes the strong appeal of Mrs Das to MrKapasi. Moreover the naked bodies making love at the sun templesymbolizes the possible romance that Mr Kapasi and Mrs Das would havein the future. In another place, bobby being attacked by the monkeysis symbolic of the fact that he is not the true son of Mr Das. It isstands for the secret affair that once existed between Mrs Das and MrDas’s friend and as a result bobby was born.

Theyellow wallpaper itself is symbolic of who the narrator really is andher true feeling. As the story advances it comes clearly that a womanis trapped within it struggling to come out of the wallpaper. Itshows how the author is confined within the walls of her room. Shesees the woman behind the wallpaper starting to crawl in the wallpaper symbolizing her becoming unstable in the mind. In the end theauthor tears the wallpaper because she feels hard to accept the painsof her confinements.

Themesand Character development

Thenarrative the interpreter if maladies written by Jhumpa Lahiri andthe yellow wallpaper written by Charlotte Perkins-Gilman present twoseparate literature text but with some distinctively similar themes.The major theme in these two narratives revolves around misconceptionand misinterpretation. The finality of the consequences of thesethemes leads to some manner of disappointments to the characterinvolved.

Forinstance, misconception and understanding occur severally in theinterpreter of maladies. Mr kapasi ignorantly assumes Mr Das to be anative of India in his words “you left India as a child”. Inanother circumstance or kapasi misunderstands the statement that MrsDas make concerning his job as an interpreter[ CITATION Lav12 l 2057 ].When Mrs.Das says “but so romantic,” Mr Kapasi takes it that she could beshowing some interest in him and starts to fantasize about her. MrsDas showed some interest in Mr Kapasi’s job at the doctor’soffice and wanted to know more about it. By this mr kapasi develops anon-existent relationship with Mrs Das in his mind. Moreover when MrsDas asks for his contacts so that he may send him the photo they hadtaken, Mr Kapasi mistranslates it that they would now begin todevelop some relationship. He thought they would send each otherletter from India to America and, therefore, have some intimatefriendship. He thought “Inits own way this correspondents would fulfill his dream, by servingas an interpreter between nations”.He thought of prolonging their talk with Mrs das, and therefore hesuggests another touristic visit. Mr kapasi thought of how he wouldtell her of her beautiful smile. Mrs Das thinks that Mr Kapasi beingan interpreter of maladies would help her find healing, and thereforeshe decides to disclose her secrets to him. She tells him of theaffair that she had that that resulted in a son that was not Mr Das’.Mrs. Das says, “Iwas hoping you could help me feel better, say the right thing.Suggest some remedy”[ CITATION Jhu10 l 2057 ].

Inthe yellow paper, the husband of the author misconceives that sheneeded rest because of some rest cure. As the poem advances, itbecomes apparent that the author was in some nervous state fromhaving a baby. Her husband, John together with her brother and herdoctor wanted her to relax and do nothing. Aware of theirmisconception, the author decides not to express her state for theycould not listen to her. She says, “Personally, I believe thatcongenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good.” Sheformulates an idea that she would prefer that they move their bedroomto that downstairs[ CITATION Cha12 l 2057 ].But her husband won`tlet that happen, and she is forced to sleep with the ugly yellowwallpaper out of his misconception. The ugly yellow wallpaper justmakes her even worse in fact she starts seeing dilutions of a womancreeping around underneath it. He longed and wanted her husband toremove her from that room but her husband could not. Her husband’smisinterpretation could not let him understand that she was losingher mind. The author`s husband says, “You are gaining flesh andcolor, your appetite is better, I feel much easier about you.”[ CITATION Cha12 l 2057 ].

Thecharacters inside these two narratives characters are either thevictims of misconception, or they are guilty of it as the narrativesadvances. Wrong interpretation of circumstances and situations causeswrong meaning that are unintended that can lead to hurting other’sfeelings.


Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories. Cambridge: Courier Corporation, 2012.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. Interpreter of Maladies: The Namesake. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.

Lavina Dhingra, Floyd Cheung. Naming Jhumpa Lahiri: Canons and Controversies. Maryland: Lexington Books, 2012.