Interpreter of Maladies

210 Cloudview Dr

Austin,Tx, 78745


August 17th 2018


Pulitzer Prize Judging Board

2018 The Pulitzer Prizes

Columbia University, 709 Pulitzer Hall, 2950 Broadway,

New York, NY 10027



Dear Pulitzer Prize Judging Board,


Unique was the adjective that described perfectly each family and each story but somehow they all connected. A common thread was strung through them like a neatly knit sweater, but, that sweater was made up of different colors and patterns that all came to be from the same bunch of string. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri consists of individual stories with a common ethnic background from India. Some characters were living in America already and described the hardships they went through from discrimination to poverty. Others were in India with a hard past tying them down but experiencing the tourism from Americans. The book seems to revolve around a common theme of relationships. Whether its a marriage or a mother-son relationship, all were growing or diminishing. Interpreter of Maladies definitely deserves to win the Pulitzer Prize award for its unique style, character development, and perspective that many can relate to but also many can learn from. The work of fiction also exceeds positively in providing the American lifestyle for the year it was published, 1999.


Notably, Author Jhumpa Lahiri uses such a unique style of writing different from any fictional book today. The stories are written from different points of view such as third person and first person, capturing each detail that is crucial to providing each moral of each story. One story that stood out to me the most was the chapter called A Real Durwan where a poor Indian woman who speaks both truth and lie to the residents of an apartment building she sweeps and takes care of. The woman, Boori Ma, does not pay for a home as she sleeps on the roof of newspapers even as old as she is. Boori Ma takes care of things in the building that no one else will, like sweeping. A new addition to the building is added by the family who protects her from the ruthless people of the building, a basin. She leaves to go treat her self for once in her whole life and comes back to find the basin stolen and the apartment blames it on her and kicks her out. The only thing she takes with her is her broom and goes on to find another building to take care of. There are so many morals that one can gather from this piece and every piece of the book is like this. Even with different settings and different characters, they all tie down to Indian backgrounds and changing relationships.

In addition, character development is another unique element of this book and a justification for why the book deserved to win a Pulitzer Prize award. At the beginning of each story, there is a background that develops the main character(s). Each background contains descriptions of a person or an event of the characters life that is crucial to the story. The background might provide a reason for the character to be acting a certain way or describe why unique life-changing events are occurring or even creating dramatic irony for the reader to stay hooked into the story.


Another key point is the perfectly captured American in the late 1990’s. The author creates characters attempting to assimilate into American culture surrounded by T.V.s and makeup adds, Skyscrapers and the Average busy businessman. If the setting occurs in India the author helps visualize how American society has affected even outer parts of the world such as technology and tourists. This provides evidence of how the late 1990’s, when the book was published, of the average American lifestyle, and uniquely how a person from India or Indian background can blend in with American culture.


In Conclusion, Interpreter of Maladies is by far one of the most educating books I have ever read about Indian culture and American culture the time before I was born. This book is unlike any other as it provides many morals from each different hooking stories and excellent character and plot development that does leave the reader “wishing he could spend a whole novel with its characters.” (New York Times Book Review). Thus, this book deserves a Pulitzer Prize award if not more awards that will signify its significance to the world.



Morgan Gainer-Kendrick

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