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Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Write a short essay on the character of Ravi in Anita Desai's short story "Games at Twilight"?

The short story "Games at Twilight" is wonderful creation of Anita Desai, one of the prominent living Indian writers. Ravi, though cannot be regarded as the protagonist of the story', is at the centre. The events of the story centre around him. Though apparently the story deals with some Indian children's game, it explores the psychology of a child's world. Ravi's participation in a simple game of hide-and-seek leaves him feeling isolated and abandoned at the end of the story.

It is Ravi's mentality or mental framework, which is put to light in the story.Ravi's is the central character of the story. Being one of the youngest he is apparently neglected by his playmates and this used to give him much pain. This has stimulated an ingrained determination in him of becoming a winner in the game of hide and seeks. One of the most notable aspects of his character is the seriousness with which he takes the game. It is this seriousness that made him hide in an eerie dark shade defying the fears of slimy creatures of the place.



The most striking feature of Ravi's character is that he is a dreamer. He dreams of being hailed as the 'Champion' in the game of hide and seek when he sees in prospect a possible victory over the "hirsute, hoarse-voiced football champion". The dream of becoming triumphant creates endless sensation in him. But Ravi is essentially a child and his dream does not go..eyond a child's imagination. Like any other child he compares his prospective success with getting a lump of chocolate and riding the soda man's pony cart. The writer records Ravi's thoughts in the following paragraph: " Nothing more wonderful had ever happened to him than being taken out by an uncle and bought a whole slab of chocolate all to himself, or being flung into the soda-man's pony cart and driven up to the gate by the friendly driver with the red beard and pointed ears. To defeat Raghu - that hirsute, hoarse-voiced football champion - and to be the winner in a circle of older, bigger, luckier children - that would be thrilling beyond imagination. He hugged his knees together and smiled to himself almost shyly at the thought of so much victory, such laurels."

Ravi is a defeated name in the story. It is Ravi's failure in claiming his success and his subsequent feelings that are underlined throughout the whole story. Through Ravi's frustration and dejection a child's heart is exposed; the psychology of a child is brought to light. Throughout the story what is carefully drawn how the little boy feels when he sees a possible victory in prospect, what he dreams and how he feels when he is deprived of the recognition due to him. No one acknowledges Ravi's victory even though he frantically cried for it. This hurts him and makes him feel cheated. At this point, the writer makes a deep study of child psychology and a child's powerful reaction when he feels cheated of his victory and honour. Ravi feels hurt when his playmates rob him of his well-earned glory and victory. Ravi feels crest fallen and his heart is heavy and sad with the disgrace of being forgotten.

The ending of the story focuses on the dejection of this little boy. He is overwhelmed by the terrible sense of insignificance. His dream is shattered to pieces by not being recognised his success. More painful is that he is forgotten by everybody as he went out of sight only for the time being. But this is too much for the little boy. The closing paragraph of the story underlines the pangs of Ravi: "He had wanted victory and triumph - not a funeral. But he had been forgotten, lift out and he would not join them now. The ignominy of being forgotten - how could he face it? He felt his heart go heavy and ache inside him unbearably. He lay down full length on the terrible sense of his insignificance".

Anita Desai's art of characterisation in the story is quite noteworthy. She poured everything what was in her artistic store to draw her characters full length. In "Games at Twilight" she brings only a few characters and draws them carefully. She is very economic in her approach. Ravi is the only character who is fully drawn and he is at the center of the story. His thoughts and dreams are focused with superb artistic touch. The inner recesses of a child's heart are unfolded and magnificently explored. Ravi is the most important character of the story and he is drawn with utmost care endowing him with all the possible traits existing in a child.
Ravi's is the central character of the story



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