A Devoted Son Characters
by Anita Desai

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A Devoted Son Characters

The two main characters of "A Devoted Son" are Rakesh (the son) and Varma (the father).

Rakesh is a clever young man who does well on his exams and grows up to be a rich and successful doctor. From his point of view, he remains a devoted son who does everything he can to take care of his father. In his father's old age, he supervises every bit of food his father eats and medicates him for every little complaint.

Varma is Rakesh's father. At first he is proud of his son's accomplishments, but as he ages and Rakesh takes tighter control over his health, Varma begins to resent his son and see him as a tyrant. As Rakesh monitors his father's diet, Varma complains that Rakesh never lets him eat or enjoy the things that he wants. Varma feels helpless and controlled and begins to begrudge his son and see him as his captor.

While Varma and Rakesh are the main characters, there are some other characters that appear less prominently. These include:

Veena is Rakesh's wife. She is described as compliant, unimaginative, and docile. She follows Rakesh's orders regarding his father's diet, and Varma imagines that she gets perverse pleasure out of this tyranny.

Bhatia is an old neighbor and friend of Varma. He lives next door and often joins Varma to sit outside and complain about the hardships that the two of them are facing.

Varma's wife is briefly mentioned at the beginning of the story, but she is never named. She dies well before Varma does, and this contributes to his unhappiness.

Rakesh's children are also never named and really only appear in the story as vague references. Varma is briefly able to convince one of them to sneak him extra food.

Varma's neighbors also briefly appear in the text, mostly to highlight the jealously that the community feels about Rakesh's success. The only neighbor who is named is Bhatia.