Study Guide

Interpreter of Maladies The House in "This Blessed House"

By Jhumpa Lahiri

The House in "This Blessed House"

Owning a house is the American Dream, and that's pretty much what the house represents for Sanjeev, who's already living the dream. He's got the MIT degree, the upwardly-mobile career, a beautiful wife: he just needs a house to match.

And what a house he has:

Sanjeev had found the house on his own before leaving for the wedding, for a good price, in a neighborhood with a fine school system. He was impressed by the elegant curved staircase with its wrought-iron banister, and the dark wooden wainscoting, and the solarium overlooking rhododendron bushes, and the solid brass 22, which also happened to be the date of his birth, nailed impressively to the vaguely Tudor façade. There were two working fireplaces, a two-car garage, and an attic suitable for converting into extra bedrooms if, the Realtor mentioned, the need should arise. (TBH 50)

Notice all the fine interior details? The solarium? The vaguely Tudor façade? Doesn't the house just seem perfect for a suburban couple, like an almost-vintage American McMansion featured on HGTV?

No wonder Sanjeev decides to buy the house without Twinkle's input—all that house and "for a good price."

Of course, because "[b]y then Sanjeev had already made up his mind, was determined that he and Twinkle should live there together, forever" (TBH 50) and because the house really does seem like such a good deal, Sanjeev doesn't "[bother] to notice the switch plates covered with biblical stickers, or the transparent decal of the Virgin on the half shell, as Twinkle liked to call it, adhered to the window in the master bedroom" (TBH 50).

In other words, Sanjeev blinds himself to all the imperfect details of the house…kind of like how he ignores all the details that make Twinkle not-so-perfect for him just so he can maintain his dream of the perfect American life.

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