Study Guide

Interpreter of Maladies Society and Class

By Jhumpa Lahiri

Society and Class

All you need to know about society and class in Interpreter of Maladies are these two things: the American Dream and the Indian caste system. Think of the American Dream and the caste system as ideas that control the values, philosophies and class outcomes of Lahiri's different characters. Their influences are everywhere and, and those influences aren't really beneficial in most of our stories.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. How do the caste system and the American Dream work together to defeat some characters and support other characters?
  2. Are class hierarchy and division necessary for Lahiri's characters to function?
  3. How does a character's race affect a character's class status in the stories set in America?

Chew on This

The caste system and the American Dream produce a lot of class division and strife.

Having divisions in class (and knowing one's place in society) can actually help maintain social harmony.

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