Interpreter of Maladies: Mrs. Sen's
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This is another story where we see the Indian people through the eyes of non-Indians. So, there's that whole prevailing sense of "otherness" throughout, which Lahiri does well because she herself grew up in the US and mostly around a certain Indian-American demographic (educated academics, doctors, etc.) To her, Indian-Americans from other social strata were/are, I imagine, the "other." Nothing wrong with that -- just an observation as to why she reverted to this POV in more than 1-2 stories in this collection.
Also, the precocious kid POV pops up again here, interestingly.
Eliot is the one who sees his mother as ''odd'' when they me Mrs. Sen for the first time is just one example.
The differences between the couple in the first story is another example of not culturally based issues.
I think Lahiri's theme of ''otherness'' is broader than that.
Using the observant child as narrator of the story is a frequently used devise, (Great Expectations springs to mind). The child notices details that adults overlook but at the same time doesn't fully understand the implications of what they observe.
"but I don't think her observations are exclusively Indian versus non-Indian."
That's actually not what I wrote.
"I think Lahiri's theme of ''otherness'' is broader than that."
I agree. I was talking simply about the predominant theme of otherness. A single story is more than just one thing, of course. There are layers. But, some things jump out more so than others. I shared what jumped out for me, as an Indian-American myself.
And, re. the child narrator -- yeah, I get the point of that perspective. I was simply pointing out that she was using this literary device in yet another story. I've also written and had published a couple of short stories with a child's POV. It's always a very conscious choice for specific reasons.
FWIW: I also wrote a 2013 blog post on this with other examples (way better than Great Expectations, for me): https://indiatopia.com/2013/07/31/marginalia-grownup-fiction-with-child-protagon....