Explain how a postcolonial criticism would look in terms of Desai's Games at Twilight.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that there are several ways that a postcolonial critique of Desai's work could look.  Fundamentally, it has to be presumed that this game of hide and seek is a representation of something more.  In this light, one has to embrace a Freudian or psychological view of reality whereby what one experiences as a child has implications for the older world.  In this case, the game is a setting whereby "the other," in the form of Ravi, seeks to be acknowledged by the ruling majority, in this case the older brother, Raghu, and the older kids.  In this, there can be a postcolonial construct established. The older kids and Raghu would represent the dominant order in which Ravi and those who are disenfranchised seek acknowledgement and recognition.  Ravi's internal belief that this is something he is going to be able to receive from those in the position of power is something that exists in his mind, and it struggles to be a reality.  The conclusion of the story is one whereby Ravi has to make a conscious choice in recognizing that he will never receive the acknowledgement and validation that he receives.  He ends up rejecting the ruling order and accepts his condition.  In this, there can be an examination of the relationship between those who are under the control of a ruling majority and struggle within that system to gain a sense of acknowledgement and validation within such a system.

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