Jhumpa Lahiri was born to Indian parents on July 11th, 1967, in London to Bengali Immigrants living there than in Rhode Island in South Kingston. She wrote a collection of short stories like “Unaccustomed Earth” and “The Interpreter of Maladies.” They later relocated to the United States of America, where her mother brought her up in the Indian way.
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She went to south Kingston High school then proceeded to Barnard college in 1989. She has many degrees from Boston University, which includes an M.A in Creative Writing, an M.A in Comparative Literature and a P.H.D in Renaissance Studies. From then, she went to the province town’s Fine Arts work center, where she took up a fellowship which lasted from 1997-1998 (Meyer, 2010).
She married Alberto Vourvoulias- Bush an American, and together they live in Brooklyn with their two children. She works as the vice president of the PEN American Center, and she has also been involved in teaching creative arts in various universities and colleges. She has also received various awards that include the PEN/Hemingway Award, where her book, “Interpreter of Maladies,” was nominated as the Best Fiction Debut of the year in 1999. Then in 2000 she was also awarded the Best Debut of the year in New Yolk for the same book. She also received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book.
Most of Lahiri’s stories are about her own experiences as an immigrant in the United States. She has written many short stories, and the” Interpreter of Maladies” was her début collection which got released in 1999.”Unaccustomed Earth” was her second collection of short stories and it became a great success.
The story “Hell and Heaven” was one of the stories contained in the “Unaccustomed Earth” collection. The story talks about the experiences that the Indians in Diaspora goes through. It is about the experiences that Indians in America go through plus their cultural dilemmas. The characters in the short story torn between adopting the American way of life at the same time maintaining their own Bengali cultural roots illustrates the theme in the story. In the short story, Usha wants to fully get assimilated into the American way of life but her mother wants her to stay rooted in their Bengali culture (Lahiri, 2009).
Lahiri’s first book was the “Interpreter of Maladies” and as soon as it got published it became an instant success. In 2000, it got awarded with the Pulitzer’s prize. It was later translated to as many as twenty-nine languages. Like most of her other works, the interpreter of maladies talks about the lives of Indian-American in the United States. It focuses on the lives of these people and the struggle they go through in their search for self-identity (Lahiri, 1999). The two cultures confuse them hence they face the dilemma of having to choose which one they should adopt. The setting of the story is in many parts of the USA including Cambridge and some parts of India. The author is Indian and therefore majority of her works focused on her native culture. The book also talks about the cultural difference that exit between the Indians and the Indian American in the United States of America.
Lahiri,Lhumpa.Interpreter of Maladies, New York: Mariner Books, 1999.Print.
Lahiri,Lhumpa. Unaccustomed Earth, New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 2009.Print.
Meyer,Michael.The Bedford Introduction to Literature, New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010.Print.