Fasting Feasting Extract Close Analysis
Chapter Twenty Six
In the ending of chapter twenty six, Mrs. Patton decides to request Arun to join her and Melanie ‘to spend the day down at the swimming hole’. The swimming hole is used by Desai to illustrate America and nature. It is compared to the ‘scummy green swimming pool’ which represents India. This can be seen as India being a lot smaller in size to America and has an unattractive appearance however; Desai does not say that America is any different.
The pond is described with water that ‘sparkles innocently’ which shows the appearance of America is inviting and harmless but underneath ‘animal life might lurk in it’ which relates to the dangers which may be devouring people. The area which Mrs. Patton has brought them to is very isolated and far away from ‘the people on the beach’. The people on the beach ‘gives the impression of being crowded’ is what seems only seems to be people in close proximity of each other supposedly having fun, when in actual fact they are only making a ‘din’. This symbolizes America appearing to be a place of happiness and fun but is only a place obsessed with appearances.
The setting of the area is surrounded by nature with ‘the woods behind them’ and the beach ‘at the other end of the pond’ conveying America’s abundance of greenery, nature, freedom. This is used to juxtapose with the civilization and the unnaturalness of materialism for appearance, trash and the awkwardness people feel around what is natural.
Arun is an example used by Desai to show his discomfort of the nature and his surroundings. He replies Mrs. Patton ‘miserably’ when asked if the swimming hole is ‘Nice’, his views in swimming which ‘he never enjoyed’ and his doubts of nature as ‘He cannot help eyeing it with the greatest suspicion’ all convey his uneasiness, distress and anxiety. ‘He would prefer here to be no one to witness him gingerly confronting the water’ which exemplifies his nervousness in nature and how he is afraid of to ‘plunge in amidst the waterweeds’. Using diction such as ‘confronting’ to portray Arun in facing her symbol of America is trying to say how America is something that should be feared and approached with great caution. This is because ‘due to the water, an element’ Arun feels as if it ‘removes him from his normal self’ which implies that he has momentarily lost himself like he is dead and soul less, similar to those in America which falls into the pursuit of a perfect image and the American dream.