Games at Twilight

by Anita Desai

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In Games at Twilight what does Ravi learn and what is the moral of the story?

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In Games At Twilight, innocent Ravi learns that the world can be a cruel place and that one can feel insignificant and lonely even among friends and family.

When his older brother, Raghu, becomes 'It,' Ravi wishes with all his heart to 'defeat that hirsute, hoarse-voiced football champion.' He is ecstatic when he finds the perfect hiding place, the shed, with all the 'dark and depressing mortuary of defunct household goods seething with such unspeakable and alarming animal life...' However, as time passes, he realizes with a pang that he has forgotten to finish the necessary steps to claim victory in the game of hide and seek.

When he finally finishes up by touching the den and calling out loudly, he is both humiliated by the disgrace of his miscalculation and angered by the fact that no one has ventured to inquire about his safety or whereabouts.

The moral of the story? One interpretation would be that we must not discount the fact that children experience trials and troubles just as significant to them as our own trials and troubles are significant to us. Desai's skilful portrayal of a child's sense of isolation, helplessness, and insignificance reminds us that all of us will experience such trials at some point in our lives.

Another interpretation would be that children may often be cruel to each other, but not often intentionally. When Mira tells Ravi to stop howling and to observe the proper rules if he wants to join in the game, she is only executing the office of an older sister. After all, older sisters make their younger siblings mind their elders. Both Mira and Raghu fail to recognize that their little brother is hurt and outraged at their lack of solicitousness; surprisingly, they are not at all conscious of any slight on their parts. Like Mira and Raghu, it is sometimes impossible to realize all the ways that all of us (at some point) may have unintentionally made someone feel insignificant or marginalized.

Hope this helps. Perhaps you and your classmates may be able to come up with further theories regarding the moral of the story. Interesting question!

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