What would you say is the main point of "Games at Twilight" by Anita Desai?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Arguably, one of the central messages of this great short story is the way that we all go through a transition from innocence to experience, like Ravi does, that involves a recognition of our own insignificance as a human being and the world's utter indifference in that regard. This loss of innocence represents a metaphorical death, which is of course the death of childhood. The title of the story, and the way that it is set in twilight, which is of course the death of day, support this theme. The word "games" likewise indicates the idea of struggle and competition and the way that we all need to learn the rules of life, just as we have to learn the rules of the games that we play as children.

Let us examine this theme by looking at the epiphany that Ravi undergoes as he rushes out, believing that he is going to win the game and gain the glory and approval that he dreams of:

He would not follow them, he would not be included in this funereal game. He had wanted victory and triumph--not a funeral. But he had been forgotten, left out, and he would not join them now. The ignominy of being forgotten--how could he face it? He felt his heart go heavy and ache inside him unbearably. He lay down full length on the damp grass, crushing his face into it, no longer crying, silenced by a terrible sense of his insignificance.

Note the irony of this passage. Ravi has technically won the game and therefore should receive the glory that he dreams of gaining, however the game was abandoned long before he decides to come out. Instead of receiving honour, he is ignored. He refuses to play the "funereal" game that the rest of the children are playing, but nonetheless he experiences a kind of death himself--the death of his innocence and his own child-like sense of his own importance. He is left with nothing but the "terrible sense of his insignificance."

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freeha | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

yes,ive read most of the stories as I will be teaching the book to grade nine. hope to share views.

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