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Literary Text: “Interpreter of Maladies” from Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Literary Text: “Fiesta, 1980” from Drown by Junot Diaz
1. Length: Minimum of 6 paragraphs, five sentences for each paragraph
2. Format: Please follow the MLA format, identical to the first essay
3. Citation: A minimum of three citations for the essay: at least one from each text. You will need to use the standard MLA in-text citation formatting.
4. Works Cited Page: Your essays will need a “Works Cited” page as the last page of your essay. Again, please follow the MLA format. All of the sources, including the primary source, need to be listed using hanging indentation.
Please answer at least three of the following questions in your essay.
1. What kind of American families do Lahiri and Diaz portray in their stories? What are some of the cultural challenges the family in each story struggle with, especially being immigrants or descendants of recent immigrants? What are some of the family issues that both authors attempt to address that are specifically relevant to the character’s ethnic culture?
2. How are the themes of love, loyalty, and betrayal utilized to render a sober portrayal of American families? What are the moments when the authors show love in their stories? How is loyalty portrayed in their stories? What scenes or moments illustrate betrayal? Is this an accurate portrayal of many families in America currently?
3. What are some of the commonalities between the dysfunctional parental figures in both stories? What are the similar personal qualities between Papi in Diaz’s story and Mina Das in Lahiri’s? Why do they behave the way they do? What are some causes of their dysfunction that the authors are alluding to?
4. How do Lahiri and Diaz utilize characters who are family outsiders to expose difficult family issues not talked about within the family? What are Tia Yrma and the Puerto Rican woman’s roles in exposing the family dysfunction? How do they challenge the family secret? What are Raj’s friend and Mr. Kapasi’s roles in exposing the Das family’s dysfunction? How do they challenge the family secret?
5. The United States becomes an important setting for the characters in both stories. In “Fiesta, 1980” the story opens with Yunior talking about a party to celebrate the arrival of his aunt from the Dominican Republic to the United States (Diaz 23). In “Interpreter of Maladies,” Raj Das proudly declares to Mr. Kapasi that he and his wife were both born in the United States (Lahiri 45). What are Lahiri and Diaz’s messages when it comes to the American identities that they both portray in their stories?
6. How are the themes of meaningful family activities and family secrets woven together to address the issue of family dysfunction? How does Mina Das’s secret developing, in the form of her emotional pain, in the middle of a family vacation affect her family? What is Lahiri attempting to show in mixing these two things? How does Papi’s secret developing, in the form of Junior’s need to expose him, on the way to and at the family party affecting his family? What is Diaz attempting to portray in combing these two things?
7. What are some of the commonalities of the family communication styles that hint at the dysfunction that Lahiri and Diaz portray? How do the parents communicate with each other? How do the parents communicate with the children? How do the children communicate with each other?
8. How do identity struggle, marital secrets, and family structure relate to one another in Lahiri and Diaz’s stories? What are the cause and effects that both authors imply in their stories regarding these themes? How does Mina Das’s identity struggle have an effect on her extramarital affair, and how does her secret about the affair affect the family? How does Papi’s secret about his extramarital affair affect the family, and how does this contribute to Yunior’s identity struggle?
Make sure your paper has:
1. A strong introductory paragraph that introduces both texts and the essay topic
2. A thesis statement with a clear plan of purpose, incorporating both texts
3. Summaries that are concise and accurate, with a good balance of summary and analysis
4. Strong topic sentences that signal analysis, instead of an uninspired statement or a flat plot summary that doesn’t clearly define the scope of the paragraph
5. In-depth textual analysis explained in detail with textual evidence
6. Three in-text citations (one from each text) using the “sandwich” method, with MLA formatting
Refrain from plagiarizing anyone’s work. This includes published essays, CliffsNotes, SparkNotes, or Wikipedia. When you copy more than four consecutive words from such sources, it will stand out in any Plagiarism Checker. Either cite the work as a source (if it is an academic work) or go back to the original text and come up with your own summary or analysis after reading someone else’s work.