What is the setting of "Games at Twilight"?  

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As was mentioned in the previous post, the setting of the short story "Games at Twilight" takes place on a hot summer day in India. More specifically, the settings include a veranda attached to a large home, the surrounding yard, garage, and shed of the Indian family's compound. The story opens with Desai describing an unbearably hot day as the children are instructed to not leave the porch. However, the boys decide to play a game of hide and seek and quickly begin to run from the oldest boy, Raghu. Despite being instructed by their mother to remain on the veranda, the boys hide in various places in their family's compound. Ravi, the youngest boy, initially hides in their garage before sneaking into an abandoned shed. Desai describes the shed as being dark and full of discarded objects. Ravi hides in the shed until evening before remembering that he needs to touch the veranda in order to win the game. Ravi then sprints to touch the veranda and declare that he is the winner, only to find out that the other boys have moved on to play other games. 

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“Games at Twilight” takes place in India, at the home of a large family on a very hot summer day.  We first see the children in mid-afternoon, an “arid time of day” when “no life stirred…the birds still drooped, like dead fruit, in the papery tents of the trees; some squirrels lay limp on the dead earth under the garden tap.”  Desai provides very vivid imagery such as this throughout the story, reminding us of the dogged, unforgiving heat by direct description and also through the contrast with evening, when the light becomes “fuzzier” and the gardener is “soaking the dry yellow grass and the red gravel and arousing the sweet, the intoxicating scent of water on dry earth….”

As the story progresses it zeroes in on Ravi hiding inside a shed during a game of hide-and-seek, and the spooky crepuscular interior soon mirrors the twilight that descends outside.  This, as well, is part of the setting – the “less definable, less recognizable horrors” of the shed, the dank, dusty, close space that is so similar to the feeling Ravi has at the end of the story, when he discovers that the other children have completely forgotten about him and have moved on to a different game as he stood huddled in his lonely space.

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