Niccolo Machiavelli the Italian dramatist, historian, and philosopher emphasizes “He who blinded by ambition, raises himself whence he cannot mount higher, must thereafter fall with the greatest loss.” Machiavelli believes aspiring too hard ultimately results in failure. People may fall and not be able to regain self-confidence. Also, if people do not believe in their own judgment they will be unsuccessful. If society does not believe in their own judgment, then their judgment will be faulty, to question a sign of their own intelligence. Through an analysis of characterization, symbolism, and tone in Anita Desai’s “Games at Twilight” she shows us that children cultivate as they lose their innocence.
All people experience the loss of innocence at some point in their lives. Anita Desai illustrates this concept in her short story “Games at Twilight.” When Ravi is convinced he had won the game he exclaims “What fun if they were all found and caught- and he left unconquered” (Desai 9). But in reality, he lost the game. He was so determined to win that he had forgotten the main rule of the game which is touching the den, and winning the game. Ravi “Putting his ear to the broad crack and listening for sounds of the game, the pursuer and the pursued, and then returning to his seat with the dogged determination of the true winner, a breaker of records, a champion” (Desai 9). Ravi in the end had lost his innocence after panicking and trying to find comfort by burrowing finger deep in his small tunnel.
“Ravi is no name for a weak and unimportant person” (Choin 1). You must be a strong individual to carry such a powerful name as Ravi. Ravi has experienced a kind of “death” of his innocence. He had imagined gaining such glory by winning the game, but ironically, he has been forgotten. He felt him`self too exposed, sitting on an upturned flowerpot behind the garage dealing with these hardships and believing he was the true winner when he had forgotten that he had to touch the den in order to win. Another example of this is that children often are considered innocent because there are many horrible implements in the world that they constraint about or even think about. When they grow up and learn certain entities, they have lost their innocence.
The setting in this story makes up the majority of the tale. The hiding part of the story can not be told and moved along in any other way. The author uses different descriptions of the setting to do this. Ravi was getting very paranoid “Something had tickled the back of his neck.” “It was an insect—perhaps a spider—exploring him” (8). The shed where Ravi hides could at first seems dark and gloomy. As he realizes that no one will look there and he can win the game, the shed becomes warm and homey because he truly believes that he will win and seeks comfort in the shed. But in reality “They had actually forgot his existence” (“Games” 117). Ravi hides to long and when Raghu gives up finding him, the other children forget about him because they are too concerned with having fun and since they think Ravi is immature and foolish they forget about him and Ravi feels insignificant.
T. S. Eliot insinuates “A toothache, or a violent passion, is not necessarily diminished by our knowledge of its causes, its character, its importance or insignificance” in this case Ravi is the toothache that the kids are irritated by and do not really care for him. The children were very uncomfortable due to the outdoor conditions “It was still too hot to play outdoors, made them feel like their lungs were stuffed with cotton wool and their noses with dust and if they didn’t burst out into the light and see the sun and feel the air, they would choke” (Desai 3). The author describes the feeling of being cooped up in a hot house to make the setting outside seem heavenly and the place the kids wanted to be. Also, it is more considerable to enjoy your time out there rather than being locked up in a shed endeavoring a win.
Desai identifies many tones such as macabre, and failure. In the beginning of this story the author Anita Desai illustrates the tone macabre. Macabre is the suggestive horror of death. The author illustrates macabre when she says, “Made them feel that their lungs were stuffed with cotton wool and their noses with dust and if they didn’t burst out into the light and see the sun and feel the air, they would choke.”(3). Desai wants to illustrate the children’s living conditions. In the middle of this story Desai illustrates the tone realization. The author reveals the tone realization when Ravi articulates “DEN! DEN! DEN!” “His voice broke with rage and pity at the disgrace of it all and he felt himself flooded with tears and misery.”(10).
Desai elucidates realization in the midpoint of this story to give us an idea that winning is not always the key of life, having fun and enjoying time is what is key in life. In the end of this story Desai distinguishes the tone of death and failure. Anita Desai gives us evidence of death and failure when we read “He has wanted victory and triumph- not a funeral” (13). Desai illuminates death and failure in the end of the story because Ravi failed at winning the game and now he really doesn’t care about winning because he is intimidated and mournful. Desai created many tones throughout the story, macabre, realization, death, and failure. All of these tones reflect back to the theme determination.
Loss of innocence deals with the blind ideas. For example when a child is exposed to the harsh realities of the world and it is not as perfect as he/ she perceived it to be and has realized that it is actually very cruel – loss of innocence. It may also deal with knowledge of a perverse nature too early to understand. Comparable to young children knowing about sex, homosexuality, etc.
There are certain things in life that probably should not be toyed around with. It was god’s will to make things the way they are, and society is sure god has a good purpose for everything. All that remains to be said about innocence is to enjoy it while it lasts. It certainly is the happiest time of anyone’s life. Ravi truly wanted to win the hide and go seek game with all of his siblings, relatives, and especially “Raghu.” You’re always going to desire victory although if you retain fun you should still appreciate the game even if you are not the greatest.
Courtney from Study Moose
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