The poverty of the lila's family is very evident in the writings of Desai. Throughout the book, the poverty is emphasized over and over again to promote the theme and hence develop links with other themes such as superstition and helplessness.
Lila "went in with a tumbler of tea" and she "stopped to add a little extra milk to it." This shows that she is very caring of her mother as she adds some more of the 'precious' milk for her mother. The mother "lay on the string bed on some old grey sheets", shows that they cannot afford mattresses, and the adjective "old" gives a very negative feeling towards their possessions. Her mother "looked like a crumpled grey rag lying there", this simile brings out the terrible state that her mother is in. The pathetic condition and the grief of the mother is commented on through, "She had no pains and no fever but simply grew weaker and weaker all the time". The immobilized state of the poor mother is brought out further in "Now she could not sit up to drink her tea". The fact that Lila despises her father is portrayed when she does not even want to have him in her sight, as said in, "She also kept her head turned away from the heap that lay on a mat in a corner of the dark, shadowy room." The 'heap', used by Desai is very negative and brings out non-living characteristics; it is almost like the father is dead. The olfactory imagery in "grumbling sound of obstructed breathing and also stank", the "stank" also gives a negative character to the father. The first real reference to their drunken father's state is commented on through, "Lila could smell the fermented toddy even from a distance". "- it was a smell she had known and hated since she was a small girl", this is an internal flashback that Lila remembers, showing her hatred of the intoxicant. This also brings out the fact that Lila's father had this problem from a long time. Lila wishes that "stench of drunkenness" due to her father, would go away from her mother, though...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document