Focus on Setting: Games at Twilight and Other Short Stories by Anita Desai
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The Merriam Webster dictionary defines setting as “the place and conditions in which something happens or exists or the time place and conditions in which the action of a book, movie, etc takes place. In the short story collection called, “Games at Twilight and Other Short Stories”, written by Indian novelist, Anita Desai there is a huge focus placed on setting which plays a huge role in the development of the story. This essay would be based on three short stories from this particular collection; ‘Games at Twilight’, ‘Studies in the Park’ and ‘Pineapple Cake’. In each of these short pieces the behavior of the main characters were affected by the setting in terms of the interactions or lack of interaction with other persons in the environment, the pressure placed by society on an individual to conform to certain norms or expectations and how a setting which is outside of one’s comfort zone affects an individual’s mood and behavior..
In the story, ‘Games at Twilight’, we are engaged by the tale of a group of children who are playing a game of hide and seek on an extremely hot day. Particular focused is placed on one child who can be seen as the main character of the story, Ravi. Determined to win the game, Ravi has made it into a place which he would not usually venture. A place where he cannot be found; an old garage shed which serves as a dump for things that are no longer wanted in the house. Reference was also made to Ravi being locked in a linen closet for about half of an hour before he was eventually found by his mother. This fact proved how daring the game had caused him to become and even leaves the reader the wonder if he was a child who was given little attention since half hour was quite a long time for a child to di...
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...e a man suddenly dies. The child is evidently traumatized and evidently so. We see that Mrs. Hernandez tries to coax him into having some well deserved cake and he refuses it. She seems to be quite unconcerned by the event that had just occurred and indulges in the dessert plate with little sympathy for the man who was presumed dead. It is as if Mrs. Hernandez’s main focus was to be present in the upper class event and nothing could prevent her from remaining focused on enjoying it. Victor’s behavior can be blamed on how an individual responds to an environment that is outside of his comfort zone or one that is dominated by a particular gender.
"Setting." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.
Games at Twilight and Other Stories, Anita Desai, Penguin Books, 1986
“Lecture Notes on Games of Twilight, Dr. E. Jackson” (UWI), 2014