A Devoted Son Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

“A Devoted Son” appears in Desai’s acclaimed collection of short stories, Games at Twilight, and Other Stories. Unlike her earlier novels in which female characters dominate the texts, this story is about male characters. Focusing on a father-son relationship in a traditional Hindu family, the story looks at the problem of old age from two different angles. The setting of the story is realistic. Developed with a sense of humor, the story presents a fine study in human psychology and love.

The title of the story refers to Rakesh, who is always reverential to his parents, touching their feet in devotion. A brilliant student, after getting his M.D. in India he goes to the United States on a scholarship and pursues his career in a most prestigious hospital, winning the admiration of his American colleagues. His love and devotion to his aging parents compel him to return to India, get married to an uneducated village girl in deference to his parents’ wishes, start working in a city hospital, rise to the position of a director, and finally set up his own clinic and come to be recognized as the best and the richest doctor in town. People can hardly believe that a man born to illiterate parents could rise to such heights of glory and yet remain devoted to them.

The conflict between the father and the son begins when, after his retirement and the death of his wife, the old man frequently falls ill with mysterious diseases that even his...

(The entire section is 428 words.)

A Devoted Son Bibliography (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Afzal-Khan, Fawzia. Cultural Imperialism and the Indo-English: Genre and Ideology in R. K. Narayan, Anita Desai, Kamala Markandaya, and Salman Rushdie. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993.

Bande, Usha. The Novels of Anita Desai: A Study in Character and Conflict. Delhi, India: Prestige Books, 1988.

Cronin, Richard. “The Quiet and the Loud: Anita Desai’s India.” In Imagining India. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989.

Dhawan, R. K. The Fiction of Anita Desai. Delhi, India: Bahri, 1989.

Jain, Jasbir. Stairs to the Attic: The Novels of Anita Desai. Jaipur, India: Printwell, 1987.

Kafka, Phillipa. On the Outside Looking In(dian): Indian Women Writers at Home and Abroad. New York: Peter Lang, 2003.

Khan, Nyla Ali. “Place and the Politics of Identity in Desai’s In Custody.” In The Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism. New York: Routledge, 2005.

Nabar, Vrinda. “The Image of India in Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day.” In Recent Commonwealth Literature, edited by R. K. Dhawan, et al. Delhi, India: Prestige Books, 1989.

Prasad, Madhusudan. Anita Desai: The Novelist. Allahabad, India: New Horizon, 1981.

Sharma, R. S. Anita Desai. New Delhi, India: Arnold-Heinemann, 1981.