The Management of Grief Summary & Study Guide

Supersummary, a contemporary alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 20-page guide for the story “The Management of Grief” by Bharati Mukherjee includes detailed a summary and analysis, also as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 15 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Navigating Cultural Divides and Tribal Loyalties.

“The Management of Grief” may be a story by Bharati Mukherjee. it had been published in 1988 as a neighborhood of her collection entitled The Middleman and Other Stories. It also appeared within the Best American Short Stories of 1989 and within the Best American Short Stories of the Eighties.

“The Management of Grief” is narrated from the attitude of Shaila Bhave, a middle-aged Indian widow and an immigrant to Canada. She has recently lost her husband Vikram and her two sons Vinod and Mithun during a plane crash thought to be the result of a Sikh surprise attack. The story opens in Bhave’s house in Toronto, now crammed with her neighbors and fellow mourners. they need just heard about the plane crash; Bhave has been given Valium to manage her shock, and she or he feels numb but not calm. She tolerates her well-meaning neighbors and commiserates together with her friend and neighbor Kusum, who has lost most of her family within the crash. Only her wayward daughter Pam is left, and Kusum is unable to cover her disappointment in having lost her better-behaved daughter.

Bhave is approached by Judith Templeton, a young Canadian government official, to act as a liaison and translator for her group of mourners. Templeton wants to assist the group in getting their affairs so as and moving on with their lives. She mistakes Bhave’s composed demeanor, brought on by shock and Valium, for true composure, and tells Bhave that she has heard that she may be a pillar of the community. Bhave reluctantly agrees to assist Templeton, while reflecting that among her own community, her calm effect isn’t a mark of maturity, but of strangeness. The title of the story comes from Templeton’s conception of “grief management”—her belief that grief proceeds in orderly stages, which it’s an emotion to be controlled instead of given in to.

Bhave and her group of mourners then fly to eire , where they need to identify the remains of their families because the plane crashed near the Irish coast. The remains of Bhave’s circle of relatives haven’t yet been found. She visits the coast with Kusum and with Dr. Ranganathan, another mourner, who has also lost his entire family within the crash. Despite his loss, Dr. Ranganathan maintains an optimistic, pragmatic attitude. He suggests to Bhave that there’s an opportunity that some crash survivors may are ready to swim to safety, briefly filling Bhave with hope, as her sons were strong swimmers. Dr. Ranganathan later accompanies Bhave to an interview with a policeman, who believes that he may have identified her older son, Vinod. She doesn’t recognize Vinod from the photograph he shows her, though there’s a robust likelihood that his features are so distorted by drowning that she doesn’t want to acknowledge him.

The mourners then fly from Ireland to India, where they visit the families whom they need to be left behind, in their migration to Canada, and take up a number of their old forgotten rituals: “We play contract in dusty gymkhana clubs. We ride stubby ponies up crumbly mountain trails” (190). Bhave’s wealthy and elderly parents are progressive and rational and don’t believe spirits or in mystical rituals. While at a temple together with her mother, she is “visited” by her husband, a visitation that she hides from her mother. However, this visitation may be a sign to her that she must return to Canada and take up her old life. the opposite mourners in Bhave’s group have meanwhile all coped with their grief in several ways. Kusum decides to stay in India and to become an ashram devotee. Dr. Ranganathan finds employment in Texas, where he plans to inform nobody about the crash, although he still cannot bring himself to sell his old family…

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