Free summary and analysis of “A Temporary Matter” in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies that won’t make you snore. We promise. “A Temporary Matter” was originally published in the New Yorker in April and is the first story in Jhumpa Lahiri’s debut collection, Interpreter of Maladies. First of all, although the main action of the short story “A Temporary Matter” by Jhumpa Lahiri revolves around very important life events such as.

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Post was not sent – check your email addresses! It was cavernous compared to their own car. Shukumar is disappointed, but when Shoba arrives home she says, “You can still light the lahori if you want. Shukumar’s fate is much more uncertain. This blog contains affiliate links from Book Depository, an online book retailer with free international shipping.

Shukumar tells Shoba that the baby was a boy and goes on to describe his appearance in detail, including that the baby’s hands were closed into fists the way Shoba’s are when she sleeps.

What proves even more ironic is that Shukumar’s growing alienation toward his wife is exacerbated by the knowledge that it is reciprocated. It is unclear whether he is still living. The story takes place six months after the stillbirth mxtter Shoba and Shukumar’s first child, and the two are still overwhelmed by grief.

Bradford asks Shoba and Shukumar if they would like to join her and her husband on their walk to the bookstore, but they decline. To heighten her characters’ isolation, Lahiri informs the reader that it is lahiei the houses on the “quiet, lahkri streets” that experience the nightly power outages and not the shops near the trolley stop.

But now Lahiri adds a twist, making the revelation that, although Shoba “assumed it was a mystery for him, too,” Shukumar knew.

A Temporary Matter |

Into an exchange of confessions— the little ways they’d hurt or disappointed each other, and themselves” emphasis added. Each passing day it seems like they are getting closer, ready to put their sorrows behind and move on with their lives together, but when the tfmporary is restored in their lane a day before intended Lahiri reveals to us why she titled the story A Temporary Matter.

He thought of how he no longer looked forward to weekends, when she sat for hours on the sofa with her colored pencils and her files, so that he feared that putting on a record mattter his own house might be rude. In a description of their past trips to a farmer’s market, Shoba leads him through the crowds and does all the choosing, haggling, and buying. Shoba’s mother comes to stay for two months after the stillbirth. Wishing to break the awkward silence between her and her husband, Shoba suddenly has the idea that she and Shukumar should pass the evening in the same manner, the only difference being that they must tell each other something they’ve never told before.


Six months before the time of the story, Shoba’s first child was stillborn. Shoba believes that she has experienced her loss alone.

Thus, Lahiri enhances the story’s ironic quality by creating a situation whereby her characters, isolated in darkness yet sustained by the customs of their native land, must confront each other with the truth. As these examples of deception are revealed throughout the story, it is clear that Shoba and Shukumar’s emotional estrangement began before the loss of their baby.

Early in the story, readers learn that Shukumar finds Shoba’s ability to plan ahead astonishing. The realism of ,atter environment makes the characters who live in it and the events that take place in it seem real as well. The irony of their situation is painfully clear to see. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. There is nothing left to bind him to his promise. The roles in this marriage, those of the active woman and the passive man, were established long before the tragedy.

But these facts have no impact on how Mmatter and Shukumar respond to the loss of their child or behave toward each other. Both women share Shoba’s active, independent nature, and both dominate and intimidate Shukumar.

The dynamic that drives “A Temporary Matter” is the interaction between an active woman and a passive man. Each evening Shoba and Shukumar seem to draw closer to each other both emotionally and physically.

Love Stories: A Temporary Matter by Jhumpa Lahiri

Lahiri increases the ironic quality of the story by setting up a situation in which the emotionally distant couple must interact more closely. Contrary to what Shoba and her mother believe, Shukumar arrived at the mattwr shortly after the baby was born, only to find his wife asleep, and was then taken to see their child with the hope that “holding the baby might help him with the process of grieving.


When Shoba breaks the stalemate that their jhmpa has caused by initiating a lwhiri game, she is following an established pattern.

A Temporary Matterthe next story in Love Stories is taken from Interpreter of Maladiesso I was happy for the chance to reread it and refresh my memory. Readers learn, too, that Shoba’s mother once held a job in a department store.

“A Temporary Matter” by Jhumpa Lahiri

The stories are centered around the assimilation and the integration of Indian and Indian American in the United States while sustaining their Indian culture.

Shukumar knows that they will play the game again.

She tells him, instead, that she has signed a lease on an apartment for herself. In this essay, Norvell discusses the story as “the interaction between an active woman z a passive man.

Upon hearing his wife’s idea, Shukumar observes that Shoba “hadn’t appeared so determined in months,” unaware of the real purpose behind her suggestion.

She is described as tall and broad-shouldered. Shukumar notes that she has left her satchel and sneakers in the kitchen and that since the stillbirth Shoba has jhumap the house like a hotel.

Love Stories: A Temporary Matter by Jhumpa Lahiri | Red Lips and Bibliomaniacs

Through the game that Shoba and Shukumar play of revealing secrets, readers learn that deception has been a theme in their relationship. Shukumar told Shoba that he lost lahir sweater she had given him, when in reality he returned the sweater and used the money to get drunk.

Because of the tragedy, his academic advisor has arranged for him to be spared any teaching duties for the spring semester. Therefore, Shoba’s mother could be expected to treat Shukumar with deference.

Each withdraws from the relationship, and they endure their grief as if they were two strangers living in a boardinghouse. He can sit indoors and not want to go outside and is letting himself go, yet this is not as simple as it may at first seem.

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