Games at Twilight

by Anita Desai

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Character analysis of Ravi and Raghu in "Games at Twilight" by Anita Desai


In "Games at Twilight," Ravi is a sensitive and imaginative young boy who craves recognition but feels overshadowed by his older siblings. Raghu, on the other hand, is the dominant and physically stronger older brother who enjoys asserting his power over the younger children, often intimidating them during their games.

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Explain the character of Ravi in "Games at Twilight" by Anita Desai.

Ravi is a typical little boy, who likes to play games with his friends, and dreams of coming out triumphant in a game of hide 'n' seek.  He displays a lot of typical little boy attributes:  he loves playing games, he is excited, he braves the scary and dark garage in order to show his bravery and increase his odds of winning, he has a good nose-picking while hiding and thinking, and also gets distracted with daydreaming, like many little boys do.  Then, at the end, when he realizes that they have all moved on with their games and completely forgotten him, he shows a very dramatic reaction:

"He felt his heart go heavy and ache inside him unbearably. He lay down full length on the damp grass, crushing his face into it, no longer crying, silenced by a terrible sense of his insignificance."

This reaction has traits of typical childlike behavior:  it is dramatic, a bit overly emotional, and centered on a limited perspective based on their ideas of the world.  However, Ravi displays an unusual sensitivity and introversion here.  Instead of lashing out and bragging about his potential conquest in the garage, he quietly lies down and lets the weight of his own insignificance crush him.  He bears the brunt alone, mourning quietly, on his own.  He turns the pain inward, and abandons himself to it completely.  So, Ravi is also a very inward and sensitive boy, with a tendency to feel emotions heavily and fully.  I hope that those thoughts help a bit; good luck!

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Comment on the character of Ravi in "Games at Twilight."

Ravi is the character who, as the story progresses, we see more and more of the action from his point of view. When we start he is just one of many children eager to go outside and play. He seems to be unhappy with his size and age, as he fights with his elder brother, Raghu, over who should be "It" in the game they are to play. He likewise recognises the advantages of age, as he reflects on Raghu's stronger legs for running compared to his own legs. We can understand therefore why Raghu is so fixated on winning the game. When he finds his hiding place, although he is initally afraid fo whatis in the shed, he swiftly begins to imagine the kind of status and glory he will attain by winning the game:

What fun if they were all found and caught--he alone left unconquered! He had never known that sensation. Nothing more wonderful had ever happened to him than being taken out by an uncle and bought a whole slab of chocolate all to himself, or being flung into the soda man's pony cart and driven up to the gate by the friendly driver with the red beard and pointed ears. To defeat Raghu--that hirsute, hoarse-voiced football champion--and to be the winner in a circle of older, bigger, luckier children--that would be thrilling beyond imagination. He hugged his knees together and smiled to himself almost shyly at the thought of so much victory, such laurels.

This obsession with the idea of the glory he will achieve of course only serves to increase the irony of the ending of the story, when Ravi does win the game, but only to find that he and the game has been forgotten. Instead of glory, he is ignored, and he experiences a terrible sense of his own insignificance.

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Describe the character of Raghu in Games at Twilight by Anita Desai.

Raghu is a minor character in this short story, featured briefly at the beginning.  The story is about a group of children that are allowed outside to play hide and go seek.  Raghu, since he is the oldest, is nominated to be "It", to which he protests, starting a scuffle.  A mother has to intervene and they play a game to determine who is It, and Raghu ends up being It anyway. When he is forced into being It, he whines, "You cheated—Mira cheated—Anu cheated—," weedling off assorted reasons as to why it wasn't fair that he was it.  Then, in a fit of petulance, he insists that everyone stay on "the porch—Ma said—Ma said to stay in the porch!" He wants to make his job at seeking easier, and falls back on the "Mom told us to" argument to try to get his way.  Later, when he is finished counting and sees the small and frightened Manu, he "charged after him with such a bloodcurdling yell" that Manu trips and weeps at being caught, to which Raghu just kicks him.  The last telling description is when he goes off to hunt other kids,

"whistling spiritedly so that the hiders should hear and tremble. "

So, all being said, Raghu is a pretty unlikable kid.  He whines, starts fights, picks on the little kids, and enjoys striking fear into the hearts of people.  Raghu is a bit of a bully, and a whiney, petulant one at that.  He complains when he doesn't get his way, physically assaults those smaller and weaker than him, enjoys making people feel afraid, and under all of his macho bravado, is a bit of a snivelling mama's boy.  :)  I hope that those descriptions help; good luck!

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Describe the character of Raghu in Games at Twilight by Anita Desai.

Raghu is just a minor character in this excellent short story, with the main focus being on Ravi and his sensitivity and development. However, we are given a number of indications about Raghu and his character. He is Ravi's elder brother, and seems to be presented as a typical boy. He is quick to fight and show his physical dominance over Ravi at the beginning as they argue about who is to be It in their game. He likewise protests when he is selected to be It by fair means. He clearly thinks a lot of himself and regards himself as being superior to others. Consider this quote after Raghu has captured his first victim, Manu.

"I know I have to, idiot," Raghu said, superciliously kicking him with his toe. "You're dead," he said with satisfaction, licking the beads of perspiration off his upper lip, and then stalked off in search of worthier prey, whistling spiritedly so that the hiders should hear and tremble.

Certainly Ravi himself is fearful of Raghu and his "long, hefty, hairy footballer legs." However, the above quote does show the sense of phsyical dominance that Raghu feels he possesses, and how he likes to be a bit of a bully and flaunt his strength in the face of the weakness of the other characters. This of course would make Ravi's victory against Raghu all the more glorious.

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Comment on Raghu's character in the "Games at Twilight" by Anita Desai.

When a teacher asks you to "comment on a character," the teacher is asking you to describe the character.  It's a fairly open ended question, so you can comment on the character's physical appearance, personality, or both.  You could even describe whether or not you like the character and explain why.  

Raghu is the main antagonist of the story, at least according to Ravi.  One for sure thing that the reader knows about Raghu is that he is hairy.  It's brought up a few times actually.  

—but he hadn’t much faith in his short legs when matched against Raghu’s long, hefty, hairy footballer legs.

I also believe that Raghu is a fairly good athlete.  Ravi brings up the footballer thing twice, and the second time the reader learns that Raghu is a champion footballer.  His size isn't directly told to the reader, but I am under the impression that Raghu is a bigger kid than most, if not all, of the other kids.  He's faster than they are, and every time that Raghu moves, Ravi describes it like a lumbering ogre or giant.  

Ravi had a frightening glimpse of them as Raghu combed the hedge of crotons and hibiscus, trampling delicate ferns underfoot as he did so.

Lastly, I think Raghu is a jerk and bully.  He's not nice to other kids.  He's chosen to be "it," and the first thing that he does is complain and accuse everybody of cheating.  When he finds the first kid, Raghu calls him an "idiot."  Then, there is this description: 

. . . and then stalked off in search of worthier prey, whistling spiritedly so that the hiders should hear and tremble.

Obviously Raghu takes perverse pleasure in having the other kids be afraid of him.  That's what bullies are like. 

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