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Patton Family in Fasting Feasting

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Patton Family in Fasting Feasting In the second part of the novel, Desai introduces an essence of middle class American life that is completely dysfunctional to the readers. In this part, author talks about the realities through the eyes of a third party, Arun, who is not from America. American culture was built on the concept of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." But a lot of Americans now take the pursuit of happiness to mean tangible, consumable things, and the Patton family is an example of that. A nuclear family is a family group consisting of a father and mother and their children. It is considered as the traditional family. A father who worked outside the home and a mother who stayed home and cared for the children and the household. The Patton family is an example of this family structure. Mr. Patton is a laconic type. He doesn't speak a lot and uses little words to express his emotions. As shown in this quote: 'He reacted by not reacting, as if he had simply not heard, or understood.' This quotation refers to Mr. Patton's reaction when Mrs. Patton told him she decided to give vegetarianism a try, while Mr. Patton was grilling his meat. He doesn't even acknowledge Mrs. Patton's decision. This conveys that Mr. Patton thinks it is not important and doesn't require his attention. This could also mean that meat is so important to him, he considers Mrs. ...read more.


It shows that she is quite dense to the atmosphere in the family. Arun's presence seems necessary for Mrs Patton to discover finally the destructive consequences of Melanie's condition. As her mother she is capable to act, there are many obvious signs and it's really bizarre how she can't see it, however she ignores the true character of her daughter's suffering. Melanie suffers from bulimia-a disorder in which overeating following with self-induced vomiting and fasting Her disorder, along with her mother's excitement for buying grocery to fill the kitchen, signifies the consumerist culture that she comes from, where too much becomes the sickness. She is a slave to a male-generated concept of female perfection. She yearns for a slim figure which ultimately results in a disaster of health. She is a victim of parental indifference. She wants a little love and attention. Her alienation from her family points out the hollowness of the so called developed world. Despite all the effort on the part of Mrs Patton, Melanie remains hungry biologically and emotionally. Her pain is something only Arun realizes and recognizes. When he sees her vomiting, he realizes that "This is no plastic mock-up, no cartoon representation such as he has been seeing all summer; this is a real pain and a real hunger" Throughout the summer, Arun has seen Melanie quite a few times. Most of the time, Melanie would be throwing up in the toilet, however when they go swimming, he finds Melanie in the woods vomiting. ...read more.


It was seen as the food of men, who eat it twice, while the women suffice with a small portion. Meat is seen as important to Rod because he needs proteins to help his exercising. Meat is something that makes Mr. Patton feel macho. Meat has changed Papa's life 'A meat diet has been one of the revolutionary changes brought about in his life.' Fasting Feasting presents two contrasting settings. It shows two contrasting cultures and in the end both cultures show that women are slaves, the opposites are in the end the same. Although Uma's family is not perfect, there is still some sort of family inter-connection between them. For example, they eat dinner together, and they talk to each other. But despite that, the Patton family is quite similar to Uma's family. They live in a male dominated society, where the father runs the house at all times and husbands ignore wives' requests. While the Patton family lacks family inter-connection, but the females in their society are free do do what they want and eat what they want. Conclusion America is a consumerist country, even though we have many times more technological advances than a few decades ago, we spend less time with family. I can't see how they have time to spend with each other when they are constantly busy with buying more and more stuff to engorge themselves. I think Desai is saying that despite America being so much more advanced to India, the ends are still the same. Nobody is happy in the end. ...read more.

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