Games at Twilight

by Anita Desai

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If you were Ravi at the end of "Games at Twilight," what would your thoughts be?

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This is a very good question! Obviously, to answer it well, you need to understand the ending of the story and what Desai is trying to suggest or say about human experience. The game of hide-and-seek that somehow turns into something a lot more significant and important causes Ravi to have a kind of epiphany or sudden realisation about himself and his place in the world. Let us examine the last paragraph:

He would not follow them, he would not be included in this funereal game. He had wanted victory and triumph--not a funeral. But he had been forgotten, left out, and he would not join them now. The ignominy of being forgotten--how could he face it? He felt his heart go heavy and ache inside of 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.

What Ravi experiences therefore is an ironic moment full of pathos. Having wanted so much to win, he has won, but only to find that the game has been long forgotten. Wanting glory and recognition, he is only ignored. He refuses to participate in the funeral game that the other children are now playing but he has suffered a death--the death of his innocence and hopes. In the face of our hopes and dreams, the world is often absolutely and colossally indifferent.

Therefore any response that you write has to try and capture this sense of insignificance and how specifically Ravi is changed by the experiences of this short story. He will obviously be a very different boy after the story than when he started out. Good luck!

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Imagine you are Ravi in "Games at Twilight." Describe your thoughts at the beginning and end of the game.

At the beginning of the game I am desperate to find a hiding place. I do not want to lose. I feel triumphant when I see the shed, because I know no one will look for me there. Inside the shed, I am reflective and I lapse into flights of fancy, letting my imagination run wild.  When I leave the shed, I feel triumphant again until I realize the game is over, when I feel devastated and alienated that they forgot me.

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Imagine you are Ravi in "Games at Twilight." Describe your thoughts at the beginning and end of the game.

Clearly Ravi, like all the children, are very excited to be finally allowed to go out and play. The idea of a release is clearly communicated by the text, as the children, who have been not allowed to go out for so long, are finally permitted to leave the house and play outside. Note what the text says:

The children, too, felt released. They too began tumbling, shoving, pushing against each other, frantic to start. Start what? Start their business. The business of the children's day which is--play.

Thus your response will have to communicate this sense of excitement and release that Ravi, like all the children, feel.

When we come to the end, the feelings Ravi has are much more difficult to write down. The way the story ends suggests that Ravi has experienced a kind of "death" of his innocence. He had imagined gaining such glory by winning the game, but ironically, he has been forgotten. As such, he experiences a real sense of his own insignficance and how he falls into the ways of the world. Your response will therefore have to capture this sense of realisation and how Ravi grows and matures as a result.

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