English Lit. 1-2A per. 7
1 December 2009
A Young Person's Need for Affection
Young people often feel a dire, pressing need for appreciation and acceptance. When one is growing up, one feels acutely unbalanced and awkward. One feels all their peers are somehow superior to them and as if they are insignificant. Young people can even believe their own families think they are unimportant. All these feelings result in a craving for success and recognition. This hankering for appreciation is reflected in both the feelings and actions of Ravi and Paul from the short stories "Games at Twilight" by Anita Desai and "The Rocking Horse Winner" by D.H. Lawrence. In both stories, the protagonist experiences a fleeting moment of pride and happiness before being deeply disappointed and falling apart.
When Ravi, the main character of "Games at Twilight," discovers he has a chance to win a game of hide-and-go-seek tag he his playing with his siblings, he experiences a great moment of pride and triumph. Ravi is a small, nervous child who is perpetually wishing he was "tall enough" or "big enough" (3). He is a namby-pamby, a nose picker, and seemingly the "runt" of the family. He feels isolated from his older siblings and has a strong desire to be regarded by them. One day, the brothers and sisters begin a game of hide-and-go-seek tag, and Ravi finds a perfect hiding spot. He slips through a crack in the locked door of a shed next to his family's garage and is completely concealed. Ravi soon realizes that he could win the game with his spot and "shook, then shivered with delight, with self-congratulation" (4). As he sits in the dark, gloomy shed, he envisions his potential victory. The narrator says of his thoughts, "What fun if they were all found and caught-he alone left unconquered! He had never known that sensation" (5). Ravi eventually loses awareness of the time and remains hidden in the shed for a long while, bathing in his elation.
Soon after his moment of triumph, Ravi is greatly saddened and shamed by the fact that his siblings truly believe him to be irrelevant and he ultimately falls apart. Still hiding in the shed and waiting to be found, hoping to be the winner of their game of hide-and-go-seek tag, Ravi has a realization: "He could have slipped out long ago, dashed across the yard to the veranda and touched the `den.' It was necessary to do that to win" (5). So Ravi does just that, and passionately yells out upon reaching the porch. But he finds the children in the yard playing another game, as if he didn't exist. The narrator says, "They had quite forgotten him. Raghu had found all the others long ago. There had been a fight about who was to be It next…All this time no one had remembered Ravi. Having disappeared from the scene, he had disappeared from their minds. Clean" (6)....