Interpreter of Maladies: The Treatment of Bibi Haldar

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Interpreter of Maladies: The Treatment of Bibi Haldar

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mar 22, 2017, 12:00pm

Here's our discussion thread for the eighth story in Interpreter of Maladies. What did you think of it? Why do you think Lahiri wrote this story from a collective perspective—constantly using "us" and "we" in the narrator's voice, rather than a singular "I"? Who do you think is the father of Bibi's child?

If you'd like to discuss themes across multiple stories, please feel free to create a new topic (see the "Post a new topic" link on the left-hand side of this page). If you're reading on-schedule, you should be all finished as of today! Here's our ongoing thread for folks who've finished the book:

mar 23, 2017, 7:08am

This was one of my favorites in the collection. Partly, this was because of the collective POV and knowing how difficult it is to pull off. Partly, this was because of the weirdly happy ending.

One of the main reasons for using this POV is that many particulars of the story can be left un-narrated for the reader to guess and fill in with their own perceptions. Also, I think that Bibi Haldar, being of a lower class/caste in this particular community, would not have received personal attention from anyone in particular. So, using a collective POV again helps illustrate that. In the end, whatever personal attention she did receive (see my last comment) was more about the attention-giver's own "needs" than anything else.

I think she was raped as no one seems to know the father of her child.

apr 28, 2017, 12:09am

I did not enjoy this one story in the book, although I find that reading your comments, actually makes me enjoy it a little in retrospect.

I'm curious, is there another option about the father of the child?