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Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai; Themes and Characters

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  • Essay length: 1047 words
  • Submitted: 09/04/2012
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Fasting,

Feasting

Anita Dessai

Themes

Family Life

Although the novel has action in two separate countries and has many characters, there is the central theme of family life that unites them all. In India, the immediate family has great importance; but the extended family also has an impact on the characters' lives. This is evidenced by the coming together of family members for securing bridegrooms and making wedding arrangements for Uma and Aruna. There is also huge family support and involvement related to times of sorrow, such as the coming together after the death of Anamika. The rituals for both these happy and sad occasions are marked with tradition and purpose. These elements seem to be sorely lacking in the Patton household in America. It is understood that the time period of Arun's stay with the Pattons encompasses only three months and does not represent a comprehensive look at the Patton family. Yet the limited window leads the reader to believe that the Pattons are devoid of any strong family ties, both within their immediate family unit and in their extended family. Arun is the character who envisions the similarities between the two families

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