Beauty and the Beast: An Exploration of the Ugly American Myth and Postcolonial Otherness in Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies”

Stacy Shaneyfelt[1]

[Received on 29 April, 2016, published on 21 July 2016.]

Vol. 1, No. 2, 2016 I Full Text PDF

As an avid American traveler, it is often tempting to claim Canadian citizenship when fellow American travelers repeatedly tarnish the American image aboard when American travelers selfishly seek the closest McDonalds or Starbucks, stubbornly refuse to speak a few local phrases as a sign of respect, and often exhibit profane, obnoxious displays in scantily clad attire. These behaviors reflect the Ugly American myth and disseminate a sense of superiority to foreign hosts. Likewise, Lahiri’s exceptional short story, “The Interpreter of Maladies,” also exemplifies the theme of the Ugly American myth and contains implications of postcolonial “otherness” as the Das family visits India, seeking heritage and culture but instead are ultimately unwilling to immerse themselves in the riches and beauty of the country and its people. Accordingly, the Das family, especially Mrs. Das, is blatantly blinded by western ways…Full Text PDF

[1] After earning her graduate and undergraduate degrees from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Stacy Shaneyfelt worked as a secondary English and Drama educator for fourteen years. Although teaching is her greatest reward, she also exudes a strong passion for travel. She also earned a 2002 Fulbright Summer Exchange to Thailand and Vietnam. Stacy is currently working on her ESL certification as a graduate student at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Email: