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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When she leaves her gym shoes and satchel in the kitchen, he moves them out of his way without saying anything to her. Six months before the time of the story, Shoba’s first child was stillborn. These incidents and others set the stage for Shoba’s manipulation of Shukumar during the week of the power outages. Less is revealed about Shukumar’s mother. Modern Language Association http: It is the kind of situation that today’s readers would find credible and compelling whether the characters were children of immigrants or descendants of the Pilgrims.

Because of the tragedy, his academic advisor has arranged for him to be spared any teaching duties for the spring semester. Each revelation appears to bring them closer together though, as the story’s ironic conclusion demonstrates, any hope of a reunion is beyond reach.

The fourth night, Shoba tells Shukumar that she does not like the only poem he has ever had published. Email required Address never made public.

This site uses cookies. The power outage was a brief moment in which the couple reconciled and reflected upon their relationship together. The narrator lahjri that the Marter placed a uhumpa card in Shoba and Shukumar’s mailbox when they lost their baby.

The irony of their situation is painfully mhumpa to see. Important events do not happen our memory as sequential narratives, but in a teporary of random feelings, senses, and observations. Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London, England, in She is kind and patient with him, holding his hand in hers to show understanding, whereas he takes even more pride in planning and preparing the meals they now enjoy by candlelight. Early in the story, readers learn that Shukumar finds Shoba’s ability to plan ahead astonishing.


It was cavernous compared to their own car. Although her practice of Hinduism links her to the culture in which she was brought up, she is surprisingly modern and self-sufficient.

That Shoba and Shukumar are second-generation Americans of Indian heritage is incidental. In this way, the story is narrative realistically and the story tells us that it is the little things, the small, seemingly inconsequential memories that form our realities and memories. Lahiri increases the ironic quality of the story by setting up a situation in which the emotionally distant couple must interact more closely.

It sickened Shukumar, knowing that she had spent these past evenings preparing for a life without him. The story opens with Shoba, a thirty-three-year-old wife, arriving home at the end of a workday.

“A Temporary Matter” by Jhumpa Lahiri | Writing on Women Writers

For instance, even though it is clear that the couple is not feeling the same way they used to and feeling as though things have changed, this is only truly visible through the little observations Shukumar makes. Mattsr author’s use of irony in various forms makes the transition even more poignant, for it underscores an element of suspense as it brings about the story’s denouement.

While it is ironic that they never thought to make such personal revelations until the lights go out, the idea of a married couple divulging their deepest secrets to each other adds an air of mystery to the darkness that surrounds them and heightens the suspense of what will actually be labiri.

While Shoba is out lahiir with the world and creating a foundation for her future, Shukumar languishes. But, on the morning of the fifth night, they receive a notice from the utility company stating that the repairs have been completed early, signaling an end laahiri their apparently rekindled romance.

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The realism of the environment makes the characters who live in it and the events that take place in it seem real as well.

Short Story Analysis and Themes Summary of “A Temporary Matter” by Jhumpa Lahiri

Shoba’s mother comes to stay for two months after the stillbirth. Moreover, the loss of their child has proved insurmountable, for neither spouse is willing to suffer that kind of pain and sorrow again.

But that interpretation is as misleading lahiro Shoba’s behavior has been. People who suffer the loss of a loved one often go through a period of not wanting to go on living themselves.

She, too, continues to observe the religious traditions of her homeland. Shukumar told Shoba that he lost a sweater she had given him, when in reality he returned the sweater and used the money to get drunk.

A Temporary Matter

He is a tall man with a large build. After the stillbirth, she had stopped cooking, and Shukumar had used up all the stored food in the past months. The narrator also reveals that Shoba and Shukumar no longer go out socially or entertain at home.

He is so happy, in fact, that he cannot decide the order in which to make his confessions. This seems to be true for this couple, and especially of Shukumar. Shukumar, a doctoral student, was in Baltimore for an academic conference at the time, having gone only at Shoba’s insistence.

Like Liked by 1 person. Although Shoba has been changed by the loss of her child, she has found the strength and determination to restart her life.