Throughout “The Interpreter of Maladies” Hanuman monkeys represent the dangers that threaten the Das family as a consequence of Mr. Das and Mrs. Das’s negligence as both parents and partners. The animals first appear while Mr. Kapasi is driving the couple and their children towards the Sun Temple; one causes the tour guide to brake suddenly when it jumps in front of the car—in this moment, representing a literal, physical threat to the family’s safety. In response, Mr. Das displays a distinct lack of concern, instead simply remarking on his children’s excitement to see the animals and pulling out his camera. His wife, meanwhile, begins painting her nails.
When Mrs. Das later storms away from Mr. Kapasi after confessing that her son Bobby is the product of an affair, the monkeys, lured by crumbs of puffed rice that she has dropped from a snack bag, trail her ominously. They then begin to attack Bobby—the unwitting product of Mrs. Das’s affair—having been led to him by the food that his mother left behind. Mrs. Das’s failure to watch where she is dropping crumbs reflects her broader refusal to take responsibility for her actions; both this and the affair—itself a betrayal of her marriage vows—put her family directly in harm’s way. Mr. Das is similarly neglectful, having failed to pay much attention to his wife or keep an eye on his son. The presence of the monkeys in this final moment thus underscores that, by neglecting their duties to each other and their children, Mr. and Mrs. Das have left their family vulnerable to attack.
Hanuman Monkeys Quotes in Interpreter of Maladies
Bobby was conceived in the afternoon, on a sofa littered with rubber teething toys, after the friend learned that a London pharmaceutical company had hired him, while Ronny cried to be freed from his playpen. She made no protest when the friend touched the small of her back as she was about to make a pot of coffee, then pulled her against his crisp navy suit.
When they found him, a little farther down the path under a tree, he was surrounded by a group of monkeys, over a dozen of them, pulling at his T-shirt with their long black fingers. The puffed rice Mrs. Das had spilled was scattered at his feet, raked over by the monkeys’ hands. The boy was silent, his body frozen, swift tears running down his startled face. His bare legs were dusty and red with welts from where one of the monkeys struck him repeatedly with the stick he had given it to earlier.
When she whipped out the hairbrush, the slip of paper with Mr. Kapasi’s address on it fluttered away in the wind. No one but Mr. Kapasi noticed. He watched as it rose, carried higher and higher by the breeze, into the trees where the monkeys now sat, solemnly observing the scene below. Mr. Kapasi observed it too, knowing that this was the picture of the Das family he would preserve in his mind forever.