Games at Twilight

by Anita Desai

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In the story "Games at Twilight," how does Desai describe the children's behavior?

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As the kids are cooped up in the house, and are finally let out, "they burst out like seeds from a crackling, overripe pod into the veranda, with such wild, maniacal yells."  Her simile comparing them to bursting seeds, and "wild, maniacal yells" really brings a great image to mind. But then, they fight over who is going to be It in hide-n-go-seek, and "the shoves became harder.  Some kicked out."  Her insights into childhood behavior are right on; the fighting for top position in games is a common one.

Her commentary even extends into the more quirky childhood habits.  One child "picked his nose in a panic, trying to find comfort by burrowing the finger deep—deep into that soft tunnel."  This is such a funny-and true-description of childhood behavior.  As Ravi realizes that he forgot to touch base, he ran,"crying heartily by the time he reached the veranda so that when he flung himself at the white pillar and bawled, “Den! Den! Den!” his voice broke with rage and pity at the disgrace of it all, and he felt himself flooded with tears and misery."  This is a beautiful description, and to end it on such a note is perfect, because childhood is filled with these catastrophic realizations and pains.

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