"It was the achievement of a lifetime and it took up Rakesh's whole life. "Justify the truth of the statement with reference to A Devoted Son.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly, the portrait that Desai gives of Rakesh is one who is absolutely driven to please his parents.  The vision is one whereby he subjugates his own desires for their wishes.  If they want him to study, he does.  When they want him to come back to India to tend to them, he does.  When he needs to marry an uneducated villager to make them happy, he does.  In the oddest of ways, Rakesh is more representative of the typical Indian woman who is bound to honor the requests of her parents.  This achievement was to make his parents happy, and this becomes something that takes up his entire life.  The need to cure his father is representative of this, something that consumes him and something that, interestingly enough, he is unable to fully accomplish.  In this, Rakesh works or allows a goal to "take up" his whole life and does not possess the capacity to accomplish it.  The idea that love or filial loyalty can ever be fully accomplished, as in absolute totality is what is critiqued through Rakesh.  The father's anger at his son in the last scene helps to bring this out.  The consumption and intense zeal with which Rakesh works towards healing his father, a "goal that takes up his whole life," is one whereby he is unable to accomplish it.  At the same time,  Rakesh's intense manner is one that alienates his father, making the accomplishment of his goal as one that subsumes him, but one that cannot be fully held.  This ends up proving that what it is that drives Rakesh throughout his life ends up driving a wedge between he and his father.

ramlakshmi | Student

Rakesh is the famous son of a non-entity. He resolutely scales the academic ladder to reach the zenith of success  on the strength of his drive and intellect.His quest for eminence makes him legendary in his town.His academic exploits are marvellous considering his humble parentage.In his quest for excellence, he is a grand success.In this sense, the statement about his lifetime achievement is fully justifiable.But , throughout his life, Rakesh silently strives  for another achievement . That is to be the perfect son. His whole hearted efforts  to fulfil his filial obligations reveal his other preoccupation. In this area, his achievement is restricted- not entirely due to his fault. First he is undone by fate when his mother succumbs to her illness. Later, his zeal to protect the health of his beloved father ends in a debacle.Rakesh tries his best to avert another tragedy in the family. Any such recurrence would expose his inability not only as a son but also as a doctor. The harder he tries in his mission to forestall a deja vu, the deeper he runs into a conflict of interest with his father. His ultimate dismay is a sign of miserable failure- his Waterloo. On this score, there is no achievement attributable to Rakesh but only a deep disappointment. A less zealous and a more prudent approach by Rakesh might have saved the situation for him and even brought him laurels on the family front as well. A matter of  conjecture, though.