Heirs of Ambivalence: The Study of the Identity Crisis of the Second-Generation Indian Americans in Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies

Hossein Aliakbari Harehdasht, Muhammad Ataee, Leila Hajjari


Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies is a collection of short stories which, for the most part, deals with the identity crisis of the Indian Americans who are trapped in-between their Indian heritage and the American culture. The crisis is manifest in their unremitting struggle to preserve, to integrate, and to adjust. The collection, due to its dealing with the in-between-ness, ambivalence, hybridity, and marginality of the displaced Indian Americans, is receptive to the postcolonial studies. This essay draws on the relevant ideas and concepts in the field of the diaspora identity to examine Lahiri's “A Temporary Matter,” “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine,” “Sexy,” and “This Blessed House” which portray identity crisis of the second-generation Bengali migrants. The ultimate objective is to investigate into the nature of the internal ambivalence of Lahiri's second-generation characters caused by the reciprocal influence of Host/Guest relationships. The significance of the present study is twofold; on the one hand, it accentuates the intellectual attention to the crisis of identity felt by the exponentially increasing second-generation diaspora; on the other hand, it attempts to attract concentrated scholarly interest in diaspora ambivalence which is one of Lahiri scholars’ less addressed concerns.


Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies, diaspora, identity, ambivalence

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.7n.2p.113


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