Short Story Essay

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The differences between generations in modern day India have been widely affected by the influences of western culture and values. ‘A Devoted Son" by Anita Desai examines the result of this in the relationship between an elderly father and hi successful son. Throughout the story the struggle for power and influence of another culture can be clearly seen from the changes in behavior and choices. As children grown up their exposure to modern societies adversely affects how they cope with the expected role in a more traditional family setting.

India's rich culture is evident in the values held within a traditional family. In Hindu families, respect for parents and elders is emphasized and the belief that bringing up children is a religious act. The parents are therefore divine in the eyes of the children. Rakesh displays this by going to his father and taking form his feet first thing upon arrival back from the USA. There is also great respect shown by Rakesh in the knowledge that his parents hold for his well being and does not marry a foreign girl but wait for hi smother choice and then marries. This value in elders remains through his mother's life as well as fathers. He sits by his mother's side and holds her feet in his hands until her last breath. Although the values always remains underneath the actions of the son later in his fathers life, the new way of thinking and lifestyle choices has been altered from the outside influences.

The influence of the western society has changed the actions of rakesh because he believes that if he maintains control over his father's lifestyle and diet he will be able to keep him from dying. And although the intention is good all the actions that he takes are against his fathers wishes. Rakesh changes his father's diet to include nothing sweet or fried, and maintains a strict list of what he may eat. This is carried about his wife and any other helper in the household. Rakesh also insists on bringing home countless...
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