Analysis Of Conflict In Jhumpa Lahiri’s This Blessed House

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This Blessed House by Jhumpa Lahiri is a short story that follows a small period of time in the two characters’ lives. Having known one another for only four months, newlyweds Sanjeev and Tanima, called Twinkle, are finding it difficult to adjust to married life. Both have very different personalities, a theme that Lahiri continuously points to throughout the story,. Their conflict comes to a head when Twinkle begins finding Christian relics all over the house. Sanjeev wants to throw the relics away, but Twinkle collects them on the mantle and shows them off at every opportunity. As a character, Sanjeev is unadventurous and exacting, while Twinkle is free-spirited and does not care for the fine details. The root of the conflict between Jhumpa Lahiri’s characters Sanjeev and Twinkle in “This Blessed House” is the clashing of their two very different personalities in a situation that forces them together. Of Sanjeev and Twinkle, Sanjeev is the one with the personality that craves order. Jhumpa Lahiri spends a great amount of time showing the reader just how much attention Sanjeev pays to organization and neatness. The reader is introduced to Sanjeev as he kneels “on the floor, marking, with ripped bits of Post-it, patches on the baseboard that needed to be retouched with paint” (Lahiri 53). A reader could take this seemingly exacting science of marking parts of the floor that need a touch-up as a normal activity for new owner of a home. Later in the story, however, Lahiri writes that Sanjeev organizes “his engineering texts from MIT in alphabetical order on a bookshelf…” (Lahiri 54) and works his way “methodically through the major composers that the catalogue recommended…” (Lahiri 60). Suddenly the innocuous Post-its and methodical way in which Sanjeev places them over the rough spots in the floor seem like an attempt to fix every small imperfection. Sanjeev keeps his life as orderly and precise as possible. He tries to control his life by controlling the things around him, such as arranging his books or following a list of composers, instead of choosing names at random. Twinkle, in comparison to Sanjeev, is very much a free spirit. While Sanjeev has only been married once, Twinkle is on her second marriage, and the first was to an “American who had tried and failed to be an actor” (Lahiri 57). Twinkle married an American, one who didn’t even have a real job; this is unlike the more traditional Sanjeev who married an Indian woman the first time.

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