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Land And Landscape In Anita Desai’s Cry, The Peacock

3224 words - 13 pages

Anita Desai’s novels unravel the mystery of the inner life of her characters. Anita Desai is interested in the psychic life of her characters. For her it is a depth which is interesting, delving deeper and deeper into a character or a scene rather than going round about it. She incorporates themes such as the agony of existence, the meta-physical void, the fears and trembling of her protagonists whose values, beliefs and structures are jeopardized, which, in turn, stand in the way of the individual’s self-realization. However, there is a genuine attempt suggesting a struggle to attain a maturity of outlook, and positive growth. Her forte is “the exploration of sensibility – the particular kind of Indian sensibility that is ill at ease among barbarians and the philistines, the anarchists and the moralists.(Iyenger 1983: 464).
According to her, the warp and woof of her works attract attention when “ the themes are analysed, the social and political elements are subtly camouflaged and subdued by dwelling on emotions and responses which are far more engrossing than the hard facts of reality.(Jain 1987:1). As her discussion progresses from thematic concerns to philosophical and psychological issues.The primary task of this paper is to dwell upon the female strength without losing the inner self of the character in all critical situations. The focus will remain on the politicization of land and landscape through the study of women’s search for identity in this complex social world where alienation, disintegration and submissiveness are inherently attached to female psychology. For example, Where Shall We Go This Summer is based on relating Sita’s desperate search for direction of India’s anxiety to find her identity.
Meenakshi Mukherjee observes that the theme of rootlessness is a part of the vital experience which is attracting the attention of many Indian writers. She makes a comparative study of Kamala Markandaya’s Nowhere Man, and Anita Desai’s Bye-Bye Blackbird, and feels that loss of ego is a humiliating experience of the immigrant situation (Mukherjee 1978: 225-35). The Karma theory running through the entire narrative of Cry, the Peacock and the depiction of the woman’s plight in modern Indian society in Desai’s novels confirm the fact that modern Indian woman’s psychic turmoil reveals an era of awakening.
Being a novelist of moods and the state of the psyche, her characters have a tendency to turn inward. Cry, the Peacock is the story of a hypersensitive young woman Maya, pitted against a taciturn husband, Gautama. She lives a life of acute sensitivity and dies in her quest to find fuller life. The novelist employs an apt symbol of a lamp extinguished because of too much of oil that “drowned the wick” (Cry, the peacock: 1980:1).
Cry, the Peacock revolves around Maya’s and Gautama’s concept of life and death. Life is meant to be lived fully, in case of impossibility, one yearns for life. Death is meant not to live and not living a life fully...

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