Daiana E. Field
The village by the sea
By Anita Desai
Analysis of the novel
This story takes place in a small fishing village, called Thul, which is ¨only fourteen kilometres away from Bombay¨ (Chapter 4), one of the biggest cities on the western coast of India, on the Arabian Sea. Although the author does not specify the year in which the story is set, we can deduce it takes place in the early twentieth century. We reach to this conclusion through the description of Bombay, ¨[…]here there was everything at once […]- cycles, rickshaws, hand-carts, tongas, buses, cars, taxis and lorries¨. There are some more elements that help to set the story in time, for example, the fact that new factories are going to be built in the village.
We can state that the setting in this novel is circular, due to many reasons. First of all, the weather in this place makes the change of seasons very clear. This helps the Indian villagers to know when the year starts and when it finishes, and to adapt their lives to it. So they take full advantage of the first part of the year when it is awfully dry (autumn and winter) and stock food for the monsoon, when they stay indoors most of the time because of the heavy rains.
Another thing which tells us about the circular setting is Mr Panwallah´s words: ¨The wheel turns and turns and turns¨ (Chapter 11). Throughout the story, Hari is told many times that he will have to adapt to changes in his life. In the end, he understands what that means: giving up the traditional way of living to adopt a new one, according to the new environment. This adaptation happened along the past times and will continue forever. As we cited: ¨The wheel turns¨.
The opening scene of the novel shows Lila, the eldest of the four children, offering some flowers to the sacred rocks in the edge of the sea. This was not only her habit, but also one of the first things most women did in the morning to say their prayers. The novel finishes with the...
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