Study Guide

Interpreter of Maladies Dreams, Hopes and Plans

By Jhumpa Lahiri

Dreams, Hopes and Plans

Dreams, hopes and plans don't just get "deferred" in Interpreter of Maladies. They disappear, fracture, even change midway through a character's story. What's the point? Dreams, hopes and plans are all about the future, and in Interpreter of Maladies, the future is inherently unstable and unknown, especially for the characters based in India. That's because life—in politics, economics, and society—get in the way of these characters' individual goals.

Questions About Dreams, Hopes and Plans

  1. How do the characters based in India approach their future differently than the characters based in America?
  2. How does the American Dream help determine the story arcs of the characters?
  3. Why is it so difficult for some of the characters in the book to be happy once they've achieved their goals?

Chew on This

America's economic and political stability make Lahiri's America-based characters more successful at realizing their dreams than her India-based characters.

Lahiri's India-based characters are more flexible about their plans for the future than her American-based characters.

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