Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland: A Many-pronged Interpretation of the Novel

Satisfactory Essays
Jhumpa Lahiri's recently published fictional tome, "The Lowland" yields to a variety of interpretations because of the complexity of its plot and texture that have gone into its shaping imagination .Lahiri has rather intentionally turned her novel into" a tome of many-colored glass" ( to quote Shelley out of context), and leaves everything to the imagination of the circumspect reader to fill in the gaps in the multivalent mosaic of the narrative structure before he arrives at evaluative finality .There are two of the most significant strands that stand out transparently interwoven into the texture of the narrative -the one that deals with , as Lahiri calls elsewhere ," relational autonomy", and the other, the pivotally positined, and intricately melded with , is theme of existentialism. The central characters llike Udayan, Gauri and Subhash, around whom much of the narrative action revolves are meant to exemplify some of the basic tenets of Sartre’s existentialism. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines Existentialism, succinctly , thus: "Existence takes precedence over essence and holds that man is totally free and responsible for his acts, and this responsibility is the source of the dread and anguish that encompasses him". I would like to interpret the novel from two of these important foci which, seemed to me, are the conduits through which one must attempt to disinter the novel’s latent intention .I have a strong feeling that Lahiri intends her narrative to be an intricate oeuvre that turns out to be a challenge to the reader to piece its interests together .
The one obvious strand of this multiplex narrative is concerned with interpersonal relationships .Udayan and Subhash are from the typical Bengali f...

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...ess”. Lahiri has written a novel that is as significant as her earlier novel “Namesake’ that won her many plaudits, but this time, she wrote her novel with a changed perspective of man’s existential angst that was more or less internalized rather than revealed. Gauri’s dream of her meeting her dead husband is her deflation into the virtual reality that is both as fervid as her desire to her transition into “nothing” is an interesting episode that adds to the thematic gravitas and also to my argument that everything that transpires in the novel is glued to the same theme of man’s search for roots. The purely Indian theme of interpersonal relationships and redemptive options are all conducted inter alia the epistemological axis which morph the novel into an existential parable, with the parabolic content completely subsumed into the texture of narrative action.