I examine three stories from Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies (1999), "Sexy," "Mrs. Sen's," and "This Blessed House," in terms of the idea of "home" as opposed to the more fixed and vague category of "homeland" (or, a "native" land). I want to emphasize the stories' characters' constitution of their social lives through the manipulation or mastery (or the lack of it) of their social spaces. I make the claim that in these three short stories, space is reflective and constitutive of the experience of "modernity" in the lives of these characters, whether they are immigrants from South Asia or EuroAmericans, classified widely as "Caucasians." In their ways of negotiating the modern spaces of American cities and suburbs, these characters produce new modes of identification and building a home (community) that cannot be simply reduced to "assimilation" (successful or unsuccessful) or the existence of a "native" place, a "back home."
Jhumpa Lahiri; Identity/space/cultural geography/space; immigrants