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In "A Devoted Son", what is devotion?  Are you devoted when you succumb to the...

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reenakinshuk | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted July 9, 2012 at 6:50 PM via web

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In "A Devoted Son", what is devotion?  Are you devoted when you succumb to the irrational demands of the person or when you go against his wishes but for his benefit?

What is ethically and morally and socially more correct? To devotedly follow instructions or to devotedly use the mind to choose the best? 

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted July 13, 2012 at 4:11 AM (Answer #1)

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In the short story "A Devoted Son" by Anita Desai, the title is almost ironic in light of the story's end.  To be devoted to one's parents is to hold them in the highest esteem and be the son who cares and takes care of his parents.  Rakesh rises to great heights in the story, returning to India from the United States to marry a village girl according to his parents' wishes and becomes the director then owner of his own clinic.  The problem comes after the death of Rakesh's mother when the two views of aging come into conflict. The two men see the father's old age through the eyes of their own experience.  The father demands what he wants as he is now alone and traditional food and treats bring him comfort.  His son is seeing his father through the window of his younger age, his western training, and is denying his father's desires in order  to "cure" him.  To me, the ethical, moral and devoted answer is that since the western medicine is not working, Rakesh should allow his father to direct his treatment.  His father is not delusional and has the right to what he sees as best for himself despite what his physician son thinks.  If Rakesh would look only with eyes of love and devotion, he would follow his father's wishes.  No one is to blame for the emotional situation of facing the end of life for someone beloved especially with the clash of the two cultures' views.

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