Games at Twilight

by Anita Desai

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Style and Technique

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Last Updated March 3, 2023.

"Games at Twilight" is a short story written by Anita Desai, first published in her collection of short stories titled "Games at Twilight and Other Stories." The story revolves around the experiences of a young boy named Ravi, who, during a game of hide-and-seek with his siblings and neighborhood children, accidentally finds himself in a dark storeroom. The story's style and technique are a testament to Desai's literary prowess, which has been admired by critics and readers alike.

One of the striking features of Desai's writing style is her use of sensory imagery to create vivid and evocative descriptions of people and places. Throughout "Games at Twilight," Desai employs sensory imagery to transport the reader into the world of the story. For instance, when Ravi first hides in the dark storeroom, Desai describes the smell of "rats, anthills, dust, and spider webs" that surrounds him, immersing the reader in the dark, enclosed space. Desai also uses sensory imagery to evoke emotions, such as the sense of suffocation and terror that Ravi feels when he realizes he is in the storeroom.

Desai's writing style also involves the use of symbolism to convey deeper meanings and themes. In "Games at Twilight," the hide-and-seek game serves as a metaphor for the search for identity and self-discovery. Through the game, Ravi tries to establish his place in the world and prove his worth to his siblings and peers. This realization marks a turning point in Ravi's life and signals the beginning of his journey towards self-discovery.

Another notable aspect of Desai's writing technique is her use of foreshadowing to build suspense and tension. From the beginning of the story, the reader senses that something ominous is about to happen, as Desai describes the darkness and gloom that pervades the house where the game is being played. As the game progresses, Desai uses foreshadowing to hint at the impending disaster, such as when Ravi notices a spider crawling towards him and fears that it will betray his hiding place. The tension builds steadily until Ravi finally bursts free from the shed, only to discover that the other children have moved on. He breaks down in tears.

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