Family Feud in Anita Desai´s Clear Light of Day

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Until a child is eighteen years old, the parents have full responsibility. They provide a stable and loving environment for their children. As the leaders in a household, caring and loving parents also maintain the bonds that hold the family together. However, absence of loving parental guidance can create tension between family members. Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day shows how war, specifically the partition of India, affects a particular family. The partition of Indian in 1947 created the separate countries of India and Pakistan, consequently ripping families apart. The partition, initiated by India’s independence from Britain, attempted to accommodate irreconcilable religious differences between Muslims and Hindus by forming the Islamic Pakistan. In Clear Light of Day, the Das children’s relationship with their parents causes lasting sibling conflict that mirrors this social and political upheaval of India. The Das parents’ negligent relationship with their children in Clear Light of Day mirrors India’s independence from Britain. Before their deaths, Mr. and Mrs. Das were preoccupied and inattentive to their four children, Raja, Tara, Bim, and Baba. They spent most of their time at the club, playing “their daily game of bridge” (Desai 50). This pastime is so important to them that they neglect to take care of their kids. For example, Mrs. Das tires of “washing and powdering” Baba, her mentally disabled baby, and she complains, “My bridge is suffering” (103). Mr. Das also does not focus on his children and “he [goes] through the day without addressing a word to them” (53). Unfortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Das are unable to ever form a loving relationship with their children because they both pass away. After Mrs. Das falls into a... ... middle of paper ... ... Clear Light of Day highlights how a war affects a family and a nation. In the novel, parental absence escalates sibling conflict, which leads to the characters escapement, ultimately resulting in Bim’s anger. While some readers may think that Clear Light of Day just represents a single family’s struggle, the novel clearly represents India’s struggle as well. India’s independence from Britain consequently leads to the formation of Pakistan and continual religious and political conflict. This novel is an allegory that explains political combat in an accessible way because everyone is part of a family. This novel not only models the reasons for conflict in India but for other nations and even families as well. Clear Light of Day shows how understanding family dynamics and creating strong familial bonds can help reduce conflict and promote peace throughout the world.

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