Throughout life, people are faced with many obstacles, but one of the main things for people to do is adapt to the obstacles and learn how to move through and around them. Individuals have to change in order to adapt to the life around them, but there are times when it is too difficult for some to change. Some may experience immense trauma and find it difficult to move on from things whilst others find it hard to come to terms with new life. No matter what people are forced to do things that they may not want to do, but they have to choose whether to adapt to these changes, or suffer the consequences.
Being able to adapt in life is an important skill as people are faced with having to change daily. However, some individuals do not have the skills required to adapt, or they have been through traumatic experiences that inhibit that ability to adapt. Shoba and Shukumar in the story “A Temporary Matter” are faced with a horrific ordeal which forces them to adapt to new life, this however, does not turn out the way they had planned and they eventually split up from not being able to fully adapt and accept the changes “they’d been through enough” and Shoba “needed some time alone”, their relationship eventually dissolves.
A similar thing happened to Mrs Sen in “Mrs Sen’s. ” She was forced to adapt to a new country and learn their way of life, this although, proves to be too difficult for Mrs Sen as she was unable to successfully learn how to drive “I hate it. I hate driving. I won’t go on. ” Mrs Sen just ends up frustrated and defeated. Her main challenge was her inability to adapt to a new culture as she was living in her past, constantly trying to mix the two cultures together.
This turns out unsuccessful as well as she finds people in her new home, treat her as if she was strange, “an old woman on the bus kept watching them” the people around Mrs Sen felt uncomfortable at times which made it even more difficult for Mrs Sen to adapt and change to the new community and life around her. Mrs Sen chooses to retreat into her past, something that she is comfortable and familiar with, “she pulled the blade out of the cupboard, spread newspapers across the carpet, and inspected her treasures. ” The fish to her is safe and brings her back to ‘better times’ in her life, when she was happy.
In some ways, people are better at some things than others, adaptability is one. In “This Blessed House” Sanjeev had to adapt to the situation he was faced with; either taking away the religious icons and upsetting his wife, or putting up with them, just so he could please her. Although Sanjeev was able to accept Twinkles fascination with the icons in the end and let her indulge herself with keeping them around the house “for the rest of their days together she would keep it on the mantel”, he had a hard time coming to terms with it.
People tend to struggle with new challenges, but some are able to overcome that struggle, such as Sanjeev. This idea is also borne out by “The Third and Final Continent” as the narrator in the story struggles with the changes in his life when he first moves, but he eventually learns a routine and adapts choosing to use the same pattern over and over again as it becomes safe and familiar, he ate “cornflakes and milk, morning and night” which was easy for him.
When moving into Mrs Croft’s house, he had to adapt again, learning her environment and how things worked in her house, “fasten the chain and firmly press that button on the knob! This is the first thing you will do when you enter. ” He not only had to adapt to his external environment but his internal environment as well. Mrs Croft would always expect the same from him whenever they spoke, always waiting for him to respond with “Splendid! ” after her remarks.
An ongoing quality for the narrator in “The Third and Final Continent” is that he had to adapt to many things, including an arranged marriage. He had to adapt to a new person coming into his life and living with him for the rest of his life. This was substantiated to be difficult at first, but soon grew on him “for the first time, we looked at each other and smiled”, he welcomed her company in the end and truly loved her. If he was unable to adapt, this would not be the case. In a similar way, Miranda had many obstacles to adapt to as well.
She was challenged when starting a relationship with Dev, as she had never had a physical relationship with a married man before. She struggles with this for a little while when his wife comes back, as it seems wrong when then wife is home, but she learns to adapt to not being able to go out with Dev and only being able to stay inside with him from fear of his wife seeing them. But, in the end Miranda had to adapt to a life without Dev. We are left with the thought that she is ble to move on and change into a better person as she “walked past the restaurants where Dev had kissed her,” and gazed at the “clear-blue sky,” proving to us the she has moved on from a life with Dev. In most people’s realities, they are able to pick themselves up and adapt to new changes, but there are also those rare people who struggle to do just that and it is too difficult to try and change. These people are forced to deal with other challenges in their life that they will eventually learn to overcome. In Lahiri’s stories, she shows us that in order to succeed individuals need to be adaptable.
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Topic: Interpreter of Maladies
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