Home Is Where the Heart Is
In the book Clear Light of Day, Anita Desai develops an extended metaphor of the Das family house to symbolize the entrapment of the Das children: Bimla, Tara, Raja, and Baba. Desai’s book follows each of the children as they grow up, but when the family gathers at the Das house for Raja’s daughter’s wedding, it is the first time the family had been at the house together since childhood. The house, kept the same through the years, then morphs into a prison, causing each member of the Das family to be reminded of their personal experiences there as children. As a child, Bimla, the eldest sister, never wanted to be at the Das house and enjoyed school because it “brought out [her] natural energy and vivacity that was kept damped down at home because of the… atmosphere” (Desai 123). She had experienced tough situations in the house as she “devoted her life to looking after others: Raja during his deadly illness in 1947, the alcoholic Aunt Mira, the retarded brother, and everyone else who needed care“ (Hashmi 56). When Bimla grows older, she feels like it is her responsibility to maintain the house as the other children (aside from Baba) leave. While caring for the house, Bimla chooses to change nothing, demonstrating her inability to accept change. Bimla holds bitterness and is trapped by the memories that the house holds and the responsibilities she took on as a younger woman, which she still believes she must tend to. Bimla cares for not only the house, but also Baba, her mentally disabled brother. Baba is a stagnant character throughout the book, exhibiting very little change. He cannot speak, and plays the same records on his gramophone day after day to make his presence known throughout the house. The house acts as a trap for Baba, due to his fear, causing even more of a reason for Bimla to keep it the same. After years of Bimla encouraging Baba to head to the office to get a change of scenery, and him declining, when he finally...
Cited: Bite, Vishwanath. “Interpretingthe Dialectics of Duality in Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day.” The Criterion 3.3 (2012): 1-9. Print.
Hashmi, Alamgir. “A Reading of Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day.” The International Fiction Review 10.1 (1983): 56-58. Print.
Meilan, Sun. "A Review of Anita Desais Clear Light of Day." Humanities 360. RR Donnelley, 16 Aug. 2008. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.
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