Essay: Alina Claps, Francesca Costamagna, Josefina Tasca.
Games at Twilight by Anita Desai is a short story about a young boy’s despair
generated from a realization of his insignificance. Do you agree?
In the following essay we will analyse how far does Desai´s short story is about a
young boy’s despair generated from a realization of his insignificance.
Anita uses Ravi, a young boy, as the protagonist of the cause. At first we don't
get to know much about Ravi´s personality, but as the story develops, it starts focusing
on him giving us the chance to get an idea about this character. Ravi is a fearful,
insecure boy who, at the same time, is ambitious, sensitive, and emotional. In the story
we find some typical childish characteristics such as Raghu´s compliment when he was
chosen to be it, Ravi´s desire to win, etc.
In our first encounter with him, he is presented in panic as Raghu is searching for
the hiders and in the place where he was, it was too easy to be found. “Ravi heard the
whistling and picked up his nose in a panic, trying to find comfort by burrowing the finger deep—
deep in that soft tunnel” Almost shuddering, he slipped himself into a shed to hide. We
find him very afraid in there. He hunches himself into a ball so as not to touch, feel or
bump into anything. His fear gets even deeper when he feels mysterious animals are
watching him and when suddenly something tickles the back on his neck, he almost
freezes. On that moment has to decide if his desire to win the game is greater than the
fear of staying in the shed.
Finally, he has a decision to take. He can no longer stay in there, has to go and
cry “Den”. When he finally comes out and reaches the tree and shouts “Den”, he feels
glorious and invincible. He was in stream happiness. However, suddenly all these great
feelings subsided. He realized nobody had noticed he was gone. “It took them a minute to
grasp what he was saying, even who he was. They had quite forgotten him. Raghu had found
all the others long ago. There had been a fight about who was to be It next. It had been so fierce
that their mother had emerged from her bath and made them change to another game” The
other kids had been playing another game for hours and had never realized Ravi was
missing, neither did the grown-ups. That’s when Ravi realized how irrelevant he was. All
the incredible and victorious moments he had dream about, would never become true.
All in all, Games at Twilight centralizes and talks mostly about the reaction of a
boy who realizes how insignificant he is for his family.