Interpreter of Maladies

Prompt: In “Interpreter of Maladies,” how does the author use detail and diction to establish the tone of emptiness and sadness?

Topic Sentence: The author conveys the tones of emptiness and sadness by revealing personal details about each character and using words that display a blunt reality and that does not mask the problems that the characters are facing.

Major Point #1: In “Interpreter of Maladies,” revealing details about each character are used by the author to give the reader a feeling of sympathy and of disappointment.

Elaboration #1: The details of the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Kapasi are revealed in the quote, “It occurred to him… that he had never seen his own wife fully naked… He had never admired the backs of his wife’s legs the way he now admired those of Mrs. Das.” This quote shows the reader that the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Kapasi is struggling and without intimacy. This conveys a tone of loneliness and sadness.

Elaboration #2: The relationship that Mr. and Mrs. Das shares is not without its secrets and trouble as well. Mr. and Mrs. Das experience a loss of affection after marrying at at young age which bring about a pain and loneliness that is felt by the couple. The author describes the event where Mrs. Das has an affair with Mr. Das’s friend and conceives a son with Mr. Das’s friend. He has no idea that his son, Bobby, was not his own biological child, but the child of one his friends. In the details revealed about their relationship, the reader sees a love that is dying and lies that are being covered up which causes the feelings of emptiness in Mrs. Das to be brought up.

Major Point #2: The diction and phrasing that the author implemented into the story give it a sad and realistic tone

Elaboration #1: When conveying the feelings of loss and sadness, the author uses diction that is straightforward in its approach to discribing what is happening in the story. The ending is an example of one of the best descriptions the author uses to give this tone. When Mr. Kapasi sees the note with his number and address flying away he is thinking that, “this (will be) the picture of the Das family he (will) preserve forever in is mind.” The use of forever and the context of the that the sentence is presented in are used to give the feeling of an unhappy and empty ending to a story based on delusion.

Elaboration #2: Not only in this example is diction and phrasing used to give the reader a empty and sad feeling, but as well as in the scene where Mr. Kapasi first hears that Mrs. Das has had an affair with her husband’s best friend. Mr. Kapasi sits in the car and thinks about how “(Mrs. Das’s) confession depressed him, (and) depressed him all the more when he thought of Mr. Das… unsuspecting and unaware that one of his own was not his own.” The author’s use of the word “depressed” best describes the scene in which this tragic news is discovered and brings about the tones which are described in the prompt. To elaborate further, the depressed feeling that Mr. Kapasi has contrasts with the feelings of lust and enchantment that he had once felt for Mrs. Das. This change in the character’s attitude sends the message that the story had taken a turn for the worst into the tones of sadness and emptiness.

Conclusion: The author uses the details of the story and the main character’s backgrounds, as well as a use of diction and phrasing which includes words such as depressed, to give the reader of feeling of sadness and emptiness and further expands on themes of disappointment and loneliness found in the story.


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