The old saying, ‘beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’, is well attributed as a focal point for entanglement or attraction to one’s beauty. Thus, a man’s gesture may typify diverse interpretations. In Jhumpa Lahiri’s prose (1999), man was conquered by the attractiveness of a woman—sexy! But was it really the attraction that Lahiri wanted to depict in his prose? This paper will discuss and review the symbolism in the story.
Lahiri’s prose evolve in the societal condition of Indian immigration to America, wherein the characters of Dev (Dejavit Mitra) from Bengal in India and an American woman named Miranda has drawn the story of opposite sexes’ attraction. The story has accounted a series of incidents of human experiences that depicted the interracial and cross-cultural boundaries. The boundary of meeting the attraction has stirred the silence inside the Mapparium of Boston in Massachusetts where Dev described Miranda’s physical personality as “sexy”.
The synopsis of the story has highlighted by another character; a boy whom was entrusted by a friend to Miranda for a pass-time baby sitting since the parents were in the process of divorce. The boy has found Miranda fitting in on a dress and exclaimed “sexy”. Caught by surprise and curiosity on the boy’s utterance, Miranda persistently asked the boy where he learned the word “sexy” and what does it mean. The boy replied that he learned it from his father and that “sexy means loving someone you do not know”. Miranda reflected on the word “sexy” as what her boyfriend (Dev) said at the Mapparium.
It was only then Miranda realized the meaning of “sexy” may be referring to “another woman” of a married man, in which Dev is married in India prior to his immigration in America. In summary, the story ended with Miranda’s decision to stop her intimacy with Dev. She also realized that what has happened at the Mapparium could be just a spur of the moment where fatal attraction has just sparked. Critical Analysis It may be pointed out that Jhumpa Lahiri is assimilating herself to the life of Indian migrants in the United States, where romantic affairs occur in a common way as cultures of people meet.
The commonality, but not rather depictive of the story, has drawn from Lahiri’s life’s experience where her mother was very much inclined to raising the children with Indian culture (Ettlinger, M. , 2008). The depiction of the Mapparium (a glass globe of stained-glass) at the Christian Science Plaza in Boston, Massachusetts, symbolizes the convergence of ideas and cultures as it exhibits the world’s political landmarks. Viewing the Mapparium has to cross the bridge that serves as deck or platform of wisdom in order to reach out throughout the exhibit.
The parallelism of Mapparium and its viewing bridge to Lahiri’s prose is cultivated by the conceptual framework that inside Mapparium is a vacuumed space that exhibits the desires of knowing the global cultural heritage and cornerstone of achievement in American literature. To cite, Mapparium’s inside view features a never before made public letters, documents, and artifacts showcasing the construction, history, and significance of magnificent architectural and artistic achievement from the 1935 world map that serves as a remarkable snapshot of both geographic and global history (Mcnally, R. , 2008).
It appears, Lahiri’s depiction of Mapparium in her prose conveys the situation of converging worlds, wherein diversity of gender, religion and race converge to meet the attracting showcase inside the Mapparium. The life depiction of characters in Lahiri’s story encourages racial and cultural exchange, as although the story has an intimate twist of opposite sexes relationships. But then Lahiri has able to describe and present situational factors at a time when races and cultures meet. Conclusion Mapparium typically symbolizes the converging point of the world, as it exhibits variety of historical artifacts that signifies the global cultures.
It was not only being “sexy” as depicted in the character of Miranda but the awareness and personality of a woman that is capable of understanding the human characters regardless of race and culture. It may be perceived that Lahiri’s point of view in the world of attraction has found incidental to the characters as depicted in the story. Another parallelism that conditionally brought the story into objective norm was the preservation of cultural values; as Miranda decided to eventually stop the forbidden affair, in which this cultural value must cross the boundaries of people.