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A Comarison Of Isolation This Essay Compares The Theme Of Isolation In The Novels "Fire On The Mountain" By Anita Desai And "The Cripple And His Talismans" By Anosh Irani.

1665 words - 7 pages

In the literary works Fire on the Mountain by Anita Desai and The Cripple and His Talismans by Anosh Irani, the main characters have chosen to isolate themselves from the world; mentally, physically, and socially. Nanda Kaul, the main character in Anita Desai's Fire on the Mountain, lives alone and feels it is the only way she can live. But when her great-grand daughter comes to visit, Nanda has a strange reaction towards the child's lack of interest and communication with her. The unnamed narrator and main character in The Cripple and His Talismans was once a rich playboy who loses his arm and chooses to live as a poor-person and thus is able to solve the mystery behind his lost arm. Both characters use different methods of hiding certain truths from themselves, but eventually develop by seeing what they have worked so hard to bury.Nanda Kaul lives at Carignano, a house atop a hill in Kausali, India. She describes her setting as bare and stark, suggesting that there is nobody else nearby. All she describes is the solitude of the plains and rolling hills. By doing so, the author is able to inspire feelings of isolation in the reader. It is only when she receives word through a letter that her great granddaughter Raka is coming to visit when Nanda notices the school not to far from the hill. This suggests that Nanda maybe hiding something from herself or may be choosing not to acknowledge the truth. Only the idea of the presence of an outsider makes her realize that there is other life in the world. This becomes even more apparent when the setting is viewed through Raka's eyes: there are whole villages and factories below. Nanda resents Raka's being at Carignano and disrupting the peace she has earned through years and years of answering to others. But when she is confronted by Raka's secretive personality and lack of interest in her great-grandmother, she becomes irritated and upset.In The Cripple and His Talismans, the main character speaks for the first time in two months when the story begins. He chooses to live alone in a "sinking" slum of an apartment building since he believes a cripple is not worthy of a comfortable life. When confronted by an unpleasant situation, brown flying cockroaches emerge and dance for him, twirling and jumping. The cockroaches, which are obviously a fantasy, make the cripple feel at ease. The narrator also chooses to use the colour brown in his descriptions as much as possible. When carrying a paper bag containing a leper's finger that the narrator does not know what to do with, he always uses the word "brown" when mentioning the bag. This is repeated many times; never does the narrator simply say "paper bag." This suggests that the colour brown is used to distort certain things to make the cripple feel comfortable when confused (i.e. the flying cockroaches).In an absurd phone call to a directory assistant, it is apparent that communication between the cripple and the operator is inadequate and confusing for the...

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