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Fasting Feasting. How does Anita Desai portray settings inside homes and in the open environment in a memorable way?

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Anita Desai?s novel Fasting Feasting takes place inside the lives of two typical families in modern day India and North America. The story revolves around the different cultures of these two families and at the same times reveals the many hidden similarities between them. This extract is from the second half of the book which takes place in the United States where Arun, the lead male character first arrives from India and describes the scenery around him. In this text analysis I will explore how the author portrays the settings inside homes and in the open environment in a memorable way. The narrator describes Arun?s surroundings through detailing the town as well as individual households. The appearance of the households is very important in this extract because it enables the reader to imagine or feel a sense of the town. When Arun observes the architecture of the houses he notices that the windows were ?very large? and ?none of them are curtained? and that ?he could look in directly?. ...read more.


This shows the reader that even the ?mechanical animation? of a television set in a room hints at life, even though the room is dark and harder to penetrate, compared to the illuminated rooms where everything though visible appears lifeless. The mechanical animation is not a natural life force - but it is still more alive than the empty room. The deserted illuminated rooms may also remind the reader of a display that is well lit for the public to see, and the dark areas where things are still being organized. This could also present the picture of a magazine cover showing the perfect furniture and perfect decoration that would be an appealing vision for a reader, but at the same time reflecting a stereo typical, generic neighborhood that could be dull, without imagination but representing the American dream. Desai is also builds on the mood through her descriptions of the exterior environments. ...read more.


This implies that each house has treasure, which the gnomes guard from intruders. The author uses the term decoy, which could suggest that the visitors attention is being distracted in order not to look to closely at the emptiness of the homes. When there is the description of a car and ?its assigned driveway?, it makes it seem that everything in the town has a place and an order to be in. Desai then talks about the ?mailboxes that line the drive? which again implies a world where everything is ordered without variation. To conclude, two main descriptive themes have been reviewed, that Anita Desai uses to create memorable scenery. The description of the homes interiors and the descriptions of the external environment in the neighborhood. Both descriptions lead the reader to feel a sense of emptiness, sterility and order. The town is one in which there is no deviation. The town is patriotic and everyone shows it, and for as long as the plastic lasts the vision will remain the same. It is the perfect American dream. ...read more.

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