Examine a significant theme that arises from the story.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the strongest themes to come out of the story is how the modern relationship is comprised of intricate and complex individuals.  Shoba and Shukumar are shown to be very psychologically elaborate people.  While they have been together for some time and seem to be the stereotypical modern couple, much exists beneath the surface.  The fact that they could draw out the game of secrets between them for a week is reflective of this.  At the same time, the idea that Shukumar could continue to develop or even preempt items to divulge in the games also reflects how intricate the reservoir of human emotions actually can be.  There is nothing simple to either of them.  Each night seems to be a new layer revealed, replete with the idea of greater physical expression of love as worse secrets become revealed.  These elements of delusion, concealment, and multiplicity in layers of identity are reflective of the theme that individuals in the modern setting are psychologically complex.  They are not simple and one dimensional.  Almost on cue with the ending, even as one of them thinks that they have established superiority over the other, there is an unforeseen element to human existence that trumps it.  The ending reveals both characters to be deep and so profound psychologically that their relationship will never effectively recover.  It is for this reason that the image of them both weeping at the table in the dark is reflective of the psychological depth both possess.  This becomes a significant theme in the short story.


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