• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Fasting, Feasting by Anita Dessai. Description of the main Characters

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Fasting, Feasting Anita Dessai Characters Uma Uma is the main character in the book and the author's symbol for the grossly subservient role of women, especially in Indian society. The portrait painted of Uma is one of a not especially pretty girl who is clumsy, slow, and not academically inclined. Uma has an earnest desire to learn, despite her handicaps, because she seeks stimulation outside the confining world in the home of her parents. Uma's world narrows even more when she is removed from the convent school in order to help care for her newborn brother, Arun. This act will destroy Uma's source of joy and hope. In keeping with Indian customs, girls are raised to be married and boys to be educated, a premise which will ultimately destroy Uma's spirit and opportunities for a fulfilling life. According to Indian tradition, the older daughter in the family must be married before a younger sister can marry. Attempts to arrange marriages for Uma end disastrously, leaving Uma to live the life of a spinster and to step aside so that her younger sister, Aruna, may marry. It is not only society that oppresses Uma, but her own parents as well. Papa has never considered education a necessity for girls. When Uma is of a marriageable age, it is Mama who tries to package Uma more attractively in order to get rid of her. With failed marriage attempts and no hope of outside employment, Uma retreats into her own world of simple pleasures: a Christmas card collection, a book of poems, and sitting on the veranda when Mama and Papa are out for the evening. ...read more.

Middle

Arun does come to the realization that women are poorly mistreated in America as well as in his own country. Perhaps Arun will be changed by the experiences and conduct his interactions with women differently from the way they are conducted by Papa and male societies in general. Mrs. Patton Mrs. Patton's character serves as the American counterpart to Uma's character in India. Although the women are vastly different in appearance and cultural backgrounds, there are many similarities that even Arun comes to realize by the end of the story. Mrs. Patton is also starved emotionally and feels powerless to alter her own circumstances. Just like Uma, Mrs. Patton has no career and attempts to vest herself in her family, which has tired of her superficial ministrations. Mrs. Patton is completely dependent upon Mr. Patton's support and acquiesces to his needs, even sublimating her own desire to be a vegetarian in favor of Mr. Patton's carnivorous diet. Mrs. Patton's role in the household has been reduced to shopper and chauffeur. Even these levels, she fails because her husband is never pleased with her food selections and her daughter eats only junk food, which she ultimately binges and purges. Mrs. Patton is not emotionally connected to her insensitive husband or their son, Rod, who is patterning his own behavior after his father. Probably the one who Mrs. Patton fails the most is Melanie, whose needs are overshadowed by the men in the household, and whose visible cries for help are unnoticed by Mrs. ...read more.

Conclusion

Ironically, Melanie's agony is partially illuminated by Arun, a male who understands the threat of being sublimated by a much more powerful and restrictive force. Mother Agnes Mother Agnes is the head administrator of St. Mary's School, the convent attended by Uma and Aruna. Ayah Ayah is a domestic worker who had cared for Uma and Aruna as children and who has come out of retirement and returned to the household to help care for Arun. Ramu Ramu is Uma's mischievous older cousin whose sense of adventure and threat of misbehavior infuriates Mama and Papa. They try to dissuade Uma from any further contact. Mrs. Joshi Mrs. Joshi lives with her husband in the house next to Mama and Papa's. Mrs. Joshi is a delightful, happy person who befriends Uma and adds some joy to Uma's dull existence. Mrs. O'Henry Mrs. O'Henry is the Baptist missionary's wife, who attempts to befriend Uma, but whose overtures are seen as threatening by Mama and Papa who ultimately force Uma to cut off communication. Arvind Arvind is Aruna's husband, a successful businessman in Bombay. Arvind is pleased to have successfully arranged a marriage with someone as lovely as Aruna and acquiesces to Aruna's every whim in a life of privilege and sophistication. Dr. Dutt Dr. Dutt is the female physician in the area who periodically sees Uma's unconscious fits. Perhaps Dr. Dutt senses Uma's deep frustrations. She offers Uma a job as a nurses' dormitory manager; but Mama and Papa do not see the need for their daughter to work outside the home. Uma's hopes are once again squelched. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. 100 plus maketing plan

    We will have lot of potential in a continuously growing market by new release of flavours every 6 months. 4. MARKETING MIX 4.1 Product Distribution The current market for cool drinks is fragmented, since the distribution is restricted to local outlets and selling points such as counters and small shops in scattered locations.

  2. Characters and Stage Directions in "The Importance of Being Earnest"

    It appears that Wilde mocks Victorian society by using Jack's motivation in keeping his different identities based on location.

  1. Of Mice and men This book tells the story of what happens to ...

    believe in this dream and can't keep it for himself any longer. Also, in this second telling of the dream we can see George has been so long keeping this dream within him, he has imagined every single detail of his future life and farm.

  2. For this task, my main objective was to look at the world through the ...

    I felt like giving her a buzz, but I wasn't in the mood to talk to her mother again, as last time she had answered the phone. Still I couldn't get her out of my head, so I decided to call her anyway.

  1. Patton Family in Fasting Feasting

    Patton is quite clueless and as a suburban housewife feeding and caring for her family, Mrs. Patton is the perfect example of an American consumer. Nervous in the home and around her children and husband, it is only the supermarket, with its "chilled air and controlled atmosphere" and aisle upon aisle of products,that puts Mrs.

  2. In the story, there are approximately 5 main characters. First of all, we have ...

    I like her choice to turn her back to him and not look at him when leaving for Kabul with her new husband. I like the fact that she chose not to speak to him when he came to visit her in Kabul.

  1. Hedda Gabler- structure of the play and the major characters

    Also, Thea had a significant influence on creating the manuscript which was called the "child" of Thea and L�vborg, and so the two characters share a connection that Hedda does not. Also, Thea and Tesman share the job of recreating the manuscript, and without any effort Thea moulds a human destiny.

  2. Fasting Feasting. How does Anita Desai portray settings inside homes and in the ...

    There is a contrast because there seems to almost no movement in the illuminated rooms, but there ?seems to be something happening in the darkened rooms where uncertain light of television sets flickers?.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work