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Family Feud In Anita Desai´S Clear Light Of Day

1518 words - 7 pages

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 an unexpected coma, she dies in the hospital. Her children remark that “it was a little difficult for [them] to remember always that she [is] not at the club, playing cards, but dead” (54). They react the same way to their father’s death because “they [are] so accustomed to his absence” (64). Essentially, the Das children grow up by themselves, with no parental guidance or support. This parental neglect toward the children represents Britain’s abandonment of India during the partition. “India’s independence in 1947 from the British colonial rule… sowed the seeds of continuing conflict between [India and Pakistan]” (Jauhari 42). Just how the Das children grew up without parental guidance, India was left to deal with its internal problems by itself. The British relinquished their control of India because they were not willing “to support their extended empires to resolve their internal conflicts” (Jauhari 43). While the Das parents neglected their children, Britain forgoed responsibility of India. This parent to child relationship in the Das family mirrors the relationship of Britain to India.
While his parents represent Britain, Raja, the oldest son of the Das family, symbolizes the Muslims during the partition of India....

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